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ISiSiStbcf  Kichard  Hooker 


John  E.  Booty 

The  University  of  the  South  (ret.) 
Georges  Edelen 

Indiana  University  (ret.) 
Egil  Grislis 

The  University  of  Manitoba 
W.  Speed  Hill 

Lehman  College  and  The  Graduate  Center, 

The  City  University  of  New  York 
Arthur  Stephen  McGrade 

The  University  of  Connecticut 
David  Novarr  (d.  1987) 

Cornell  University 
R.  J.  Schoeck 

The  University  of  Colorado  (ret.) 
P.  G.  Stanwood 

The  University  of  British  Columbia 
Richard  S.  Sylvester  (d.  1978) 

Yale  University 
Laetitia  Yeandle 

The  Folger  Shakespeare  Library 


T.  H.  Aston  (d.  1985)  Robert  M.  Kingdom 

Herschel  Baker  (d.  1990)  Mortimer  Levine 

Arthur  E.  Barker  (d.  1990)  Christopher  Morris  (d.  1993) 

W.  D.  J.  Cargill  Thompson  (d.  1978)  Peter  Munz 

Leland  Carlson  W.  O'Sullivan 

Patrick  Collinson  H.  C.  Porter 

Horton  Davies  John  M.  Steadman 

Powel  Mills  Dawley  (d.  1985)  H.  R.  Trevor-Roper 

A.  P.  d'Entrcves  (d.  1985)  Howard  Webber 

C.  W.  Dugmore  (d.  1991)  James  M.  Wells 

O.  B.  Hardison.Jr.  (d.  1990) 

Editorial  Expenses  of  this  edition  have  been  supported  by  grants  from  the  Program  for  Editions 

of  the  National  Endowment  for  the  Humanities,  an  independent  federal  agency,  and  from  the 

Research  Foundation  of  the  City  University  of  New  York. 

The  Folger  Library  Edition 

The  Works  of  Richard  Hooker 

W.  Speed  Hill 
General  Editor 

Volume  Six, 
Part  One 

Richard  Hooker 

Of  the  Laws  of 
Ecclesiastical  Polity 

Introductions;  Commentary, 
Preface  and  Books  I— IV 

W.  Speed  Hill 

General  Editor 

with  the  assistance  of 
Egil  Grislis 

John  E.  Booty,  Georges  Edelen, 
Lee  W.  Gibbs,  William  P.  Haugaard  & 
Arthur  Stephen  McGrade 
Contributing  Editors 

medieval  &  Renaissance  texts  &  studies 

Binghamton,  New  York 

The  publication  of  this  volume  has  been  supported 

by  a  grant  from  the  National  Endowment  for  the  Humanities, 

an  independent  federal  agency. 

©  Copyright  1993 

Center  for  Medieval  and  Early  Renaissance  Studies 

State  University  of  New  York  at  Bingham  ton 

Library  of  Congress  Cataloging-in-Publication  Data 

Richard  Hooker.  Of  die  laws  of  ecclesiastical  polity  :  introductions  and  commentary 

/  W.  Speed  Hill,  general  editor  ;  John  E.  Booty  ...  [et  al.],  contributing  editors, 
p.    cm.    — (The  Folger  Library  edition  of  die  works  of  Richard  Hooker,  v.  6) 
(Medieval  &  Renaissance  Texts  &  Studies;  v.  106) 

Includes  bibliographical  references  and  indexes. 

ISBN  0-86698-152-7 

1.  Hooker,  Richard,  1553  or  1554-1600.  Ecclesiastical  polity.  2.  Church  of  Eng- 
land—Doctrines— Early  Works  to  1800.  3.  Church  polity— Early  Works  to  1800. 
4.  Ecclesiastical  law — Early  Works  to  1800.  5.  Anglican  Communion — Early  Works 
to  1800.  6.  Church  and  state— Great  Britain— Early  Works  to  1800.  I.  Hill,  W. 
Speed  (William  Speed),  1935-  .  II.  Booty,  John  E.  III.  Series.  IV.  Series:  Hooker, 
Richard,  1553  or  1554-1600.  Works.  1977;  v.  6. 
BX5037.A2  1977  vol.  6 

262.9 '  83-^lc20  92-34 1 30 



This  book  is  made  to  last. 

It  is  set  in  Bembo,  smydie-sewn  and  printed  on  acid-free  paper 

to  library  specifications 

Printed  in  die  United  States  of  America 


With  the  publication  of  the  present  volume,  the  Folger  Library  Edi- 
tion of  the  Works  of  Richard  Hooker  is,  with  the  exception  of  the 
Index,  which  will  appear  in  a  separate  volume,  complete:  laus  Deo. 
None  of  its  contributors  would  have  anticipated  that  its  gestation 
would  take  nearly  twenty-six  years.  I  date  its  conception  from 
Thanksgiving  Friday  of  1967  when  I  composed  the  initial  prospectus 
for  submission  to  the  Press  of  Case  Western  Reserve  University,  and 
its  formal  completion  as  signalized  by  a  conference  held  in  Washing- 
ton, D.C.,  September  24-26,  1993,  upon  the  publication  of  the 
present  volume.  As  a  result  of  the  time  it  has  taken  to  bring  out  this 
volume,  the  masthead  records  the  death  of  two  members  of  the 
Editorial  Committee  (David  Novarr  and  Richard  S.  Sylvester),  whose 
advice  and  counsel  were  invaluable  in  the  early  stages  of  the  Edition's 
planning,  as  well  as  those  of  nine  members  of  the  Board  of  Advisors: 
T.  H.  Aston,  Herschel  Baker,  Arthur  E.  Barker,  W.  D.  J.  Cargill 
Thompson,  Powel  Mills  Dawley,  A.  P.  d'Entreves,  C.  W.  Dugmore, 
O.  B.  Hardison,  Jr.,  and  Christopher  Morris.  Happily,  the  contribut- 
ing editors,  largely  from  a  younger  generation  of  scholars,  have  all  sur- 
vived to  celebrate  its  completion. 

When  the  texts  of  Books  I-V  of  the  Lawes  of  Ecclesiasticall  Politie 
were  published  in  1977,  I  wrote:  "The  commentary  volumes  may  be 
expected  to  appear  within  a  reasonable  time  after  the  text  volumes 
have  all  been  published"  (l:vi).  Whether  sixteen  years  is  a  "reasonable 
time"  is  open  to  question,  but  the  texts  in  volumes  4  (1982)  and  5 
(1990)  did  appear  with  their  associated  commentaries.  The  present 
volume,  then,  offers  introductions  to  and  a  commentary  on  the  Lawes 
itself,  Hooker's  principal  achievement,  completing  the  editorial  task 
that  was  started  with  the  publication  of  the  text  of  Hooker's  treatise 
in  volumes  1-3  (1977-1981).  In  addition,  it  supplies  a  Chronology  of 
Hooker's  Life  and  a  Glossary  for  the  texts  in  volumes  1-5,  both 
prepared  by  Georges  Edelen. 

In  its  long  course  the  Edition  has  accumulated  numerous  debts  to 
its  patrons,  sponsors,  and  supporters.  First  in  that  honorable  roll-call 
would  be  O.  B.  Hardison,  Jr.,  whose  untimely  death  in  1990  deprived 
him  of  the  satisfaction  of  seeing  one  of  the  many  seeds  he  helped  plant 



bear  fruit.  As  director-designate  of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library  in 
the  summer  of  1969,  it  was  he  who  suggested  that  the  Library  might 
sponsor  the  Edition.  For  four  and  a  half  years  we  enjoyed  a  modest 
subsidy  from  the  Library's  publications  fund,  and  the  Editorial  Com- 
mittee met  annually  in  its  seminar  room.  Additionally  the  Library  has 
supported  individual  editors  with  grants  (John  E.  Booty,  Lee  W. 
Gibbs,  Arthur  Stephen  McGrade,  myself),  access  to  its  unrivaled  collec- 
tions, and — most  important  of  all — its  imprimatur. 

Second  in  importance  to  the  support  of  the  Folger  has  been  that  of 
the  Program  for  Editions  of  the  National  Endowment  for  the  Human- 
ities. The  NEH  took  up  where  the  Folger  left  off,  and  the  bulk  of  the 
work  for  the  Edition  was  sustained  by  three  grants  1974—81  and  one 
more,  1988—1989.  I  speak  for  all  my  colleagues  when  I  say  that  with- 
out such  support,  we  would  never  have  completed  the  Edition.  In 
addition,  the  Faculty  Research  Award  Program  (later,  the  PSC- 
CUNY  Research  Award  Program)  of  the  City  University  of  New 
York  awarded  me  as  general  editor  seven  grants  over  fifteen  years. 
These  last  have  supplied  the  third — and  stabilizing — leg  of  our  tripod 
of  research  support. 

As  the  Edition  was  conceived  of  as  collaborative  from  the  onset — 
the  preparation  of  texts  and  of  the  commentary  on  those  texts  being 
delegated  early  on  to  two  different  sets  of  contributing  editors — one 
of  the  principal  uses  for  NEH  and  CUNY  support  was  to  subvene 
semi-annual  editorial  meetings.  These  took  place  at  various  institu- 
tions, and  our  thanks  accordingly  are  due  them  for  their  hospitality: 
The  Folger  Shakespeare  Library,  Washington,  D.  C;  The  Episcopal 
Divinity  School  and  The  Society  of  St.  John  the  Evangelist,  Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts;  and  The  Seabury-Western  Theological  Semi- 
nary, Evanston,  Illinois.  No  collaboration  perfectly  suppresses  the 
individuality  of  its  members,  and  a  careful  reader  will  note  that  the 
various  contributions  differ  modestly  in  style,  scope,  and  detail,  but 
from  the  perspective  of  the  contributors  themselves,  this  collaboration 
has  been  indispensable.  Each  editor's  work  has  had  the  inestimable 
benefit  of  close,  detailed,  and  sympathetic  scrutiny  from  his  or  her 
fellows,  allied  by  a  common  end  and  purpose — a  sense  that  can  only 
be  sustained  in  such  long-term  projects  by  meeting  together  at  regular 
intervals  while  that  work  is  actively  going  forward. 

A  silent  but  equally  indispensable  form  of  subsidy  for  work  of  this 


character  is  that  supplied  by  those  institutions  which  have  employed 
its  contributing  editors:  The  Virginia  Theological  Seminary,  The  Epis- 
copal Divinity  School,  and  The  University  of  the  South  (Booty), 
Indiana  University  (Edelen),  Cleveland  State  University  (Gibbs),  The 
Seabury-Western  Theological  Seminary  (Haugaard),  Lehman  College 
and  The  Graduate  Center,  CUNY  (Hill),  and  The  University  of  Con- 
necticut (McGrade). 

Publication  of  scholarly  editions  involves  subsidizing  them  as  well, 
and  three  presses  have  been  crucially  involved  with  the  Edition  in  its 
twenty-six  year  history.  Howard  Webber,  director  of  the  Press  of  Case 
Western  Reserve  University,  encouraged  me  as  a  very  junior  assistant 
professor  to  submit  the  original  prospectus  and  enthusiastically  nur- 
tured the  project  at  its  earliest  and  most  critical  stages.  Two  prelim- 
inary volumes,  Richard  Hooker:  A  Descriptive  Bibliography  of  the  Early 
Editions  1593-1724  (1970)  and  Studies  in  Richard  Hooker:  Essays  Prelim- 
inary to  an  Edition  of  his  Works  (1972)  appeared  under  its  imprint 
before  the  press  fell  victim  to  the  financial  crises  of  the  early  1970s. 
The  Harvard  University  Press,  the  publisher  of  volumes  1-5  (1977- 
1990),  then  assumed  responsibility  for  the  Edition.  Maud  Wilcox,  its 
editor-in-chief,  and  Margaretta  Fulton,  its  humanities  editor,  were 
particularly  helpful  in  seeing  into  print  a  series  of  volumes  that  by 
their  very  nature  were  expensive  to  produce  and  enjoyed  a  limited 
market.  When  it  became  clear  that  the  present  volume  was  going  to 
outstrip  the  resources  that  Harvard  was  prepared  to  commit  to  it, 
Medieval  &  Renaissance  Texts  &  Studies,  the  joint  creation  of  Mario 
Di  Cesare  and  Lee  Hoskins  at  the  Center  for  Medieval  and  Renais- 
sance Studies,  SUNY,  Binghamton,  stepped  forward  with  an  offer  to 
publish  volume  6  independently  of  the  first  five.  Only  its  general 
editor  knows  how  much  better  a  volume  the  present  one  is  because 
of  the  skill  and  attention  to  detail  of  their  dedicated  and  energetic  staff 
at  Binghamton. 

Individual  acknowledgements  of  the  contributing  editors  of  this 
volume  follow: 

John  E.  Booty:  For  research  assistants,  The  Episcopal  Divinity 
School,  Royal  Rhodes,  Rex  Matthews,  and  Peggy  Shreiner;  The 
University  of  the  South,  Joel  Hufstetler,  Berkley  Ford,  and  James 
Anderson.  For  financial  assistance:  National  Endowment  for  the  Hu- 
manities (Fellowship),  The  Folger  Shakespeare  Library  (Fellowship), 


the  Conant  Fund,  Episcopal  Church  (Study  Grant).  For  leaves,  sabbat- 
ical and  other,  secretarial  and  research  assistance,  The  Virginia  Theo- 
logical Seminary,  The  Episcopal  Divinity  School,  and  The  University 
of  the  South.  For  special  assistance  with  rabbinic  references,  John 
Townsend  (EDS)  and  Philip  Culbertson  (Sewanee).  The  libraries  and 
staffs  of  the  British  Library,  the  Bodleian  Library  (Oxford),  Houghton 
Library  (Harvard),  Beinecke  Library  (Yale),  Rare  Books  Library  (Har- 
vard Law  School),  Andover-Harvard  Library  of  Harvard  Divinity 
School,  Episcopal  Divinity  School- Weston  College  Library,  especially 
James  Dunkly,  Director  of  Libraries,  and  the  School  of  Theology 
Library  (Sewanee).  Our  general  editor,  the  editorial  committee,  and 
other  contributing  editors. 

Georges  Edelen:  In  preparing  the  Chronology  of  Hooker's  Life  I 
have  had  the  generous  and  expert  assistance  of  the  staffs  of  the  Exeter, 
Kent,  and  Wiltshire  Records  Offices,  and  of  the  Bodleian  Library.  I 
owe  a  special  debt  of  gratitude  to  the  president  and  fellows  of  Corpus 
Christi  College,  Oxford,  and  to  its  librarians,  especially  the  archivist, 
Christine  Butler. 

Lee  W.  Gibbs:  I  am  grateful  to  several  libraries  and  their  staffs  where 
research  for  the  commentary  and  associated  introductions  was  carried 
out:  The  Folger  Shakespeare  Library,  the  Library  of  Congress,  the 
Houghton  and  Widener  Libraries  of  Harvard  University,  the  Ando- 
ver-Harvard Library  of  Harvard  Divinity  School,  the  Episcopal  Divini- 
ty School- Weston  College  Library,  the  Freiberger  Library  of  Case 
Western  Reserve  University,  the  Gaselli  Library  of  John  Carroll 
University,  the  Woodstock  Library  of  Georgetown  University,  and  the 
Library  of  Cleveland  State  University,  especially  its  friendly  and  effi- 
cient Interlibrary  Loan  Office. 

I  am  also  deeply  in  debt  for  the  substantial  financial  assistance  that 
I  received  from  a  Folger  Shakespeare  Library  Fellowship  (Summer, 
1975),  from  a  Grant  for  Individual  Research  and  Publication  awarded 
by  the  National  Endowment  for  the  Humanities  (1977-1978),  and 
from  a  Senior  Scholar  Award  (Summer,  1979)  and  a  Research  and 
Creative  Activity  Expense  Grant  (Summer,  1982)  awarded  me  by 
Cleveland  State  University,  which  also  provided  generous  funding  to 
subvene  publication  costs  of  this  volume. 

Numerous  persons  have  supported  and  contributed  to  my  research 
and  writing,  especially  the  general  editor,  W.  Speed  Hill,  and  the 


other  textual  and  commentary  editors  of  this  Edition.  I  would  like  to 
single  out,  however,  the  help  I  received  from  Richard  J.  Schoeck.  I 
offer  a  particular  word  of  thanks  to  my  father,  Norman  B.  Gibbs,  who 
first  introduced  me  to  the  works  of  Richard  Hooker  and  critically 
read  each  of  my  succeeding  drafts,  and  to  my  wife,  Joan  Lawler  Gibbs, 
and  my  children  (John  Leeland,  Paul  Joseph,  and  Karis  Elizabeth),  all 
of  whom  supported  and  commiserated  with  me  through  the  many 
years  of  working  on  "the  Hooker  project." 

William  P.  Haugaard:  For  libraries  and  their  staffs.  London:  the 
British  Library,  the  Library  of  the  Institute  for  Historical  Research,  the 
Library  of  the  Middle  Temple.  Cambridge,  England:  the  University 
Library  and  the  Library  of  the  Divinity  Faculty.  Cambridge,  Massa- 
chusetts: Houghton  Library  of  Harvard  University.  New  York:  Co- 
lumbia University  Library  and  the  St.  Mark's  Library  of  the  General 
Theological  Seminary.  Washington,  D.  C,  and  its  environs:  the 
Folger  Shakespeare  Library,  the  Library  of  Congress,  Catholic  Univer- 
sity Library,  the  Woodstock  Library  at  Georgetown  University,  and 
the  Library  of  the  Protestant  Episcopal  Theological  Seminary  in  Vir- 
ginia. Chicago:  the  Newberry  Library.  Evanston:  the  United  Library 
of  Garrett-Evangelical  and  Seabury- Western  Theological  Seminaries 
and  the  Library  of  Northwestern  University.  Urbana:  Illinois  Universi- 
ty Library.  For  study  grant:  the  Conant  Fund  of  the  Board  for  Theo- 
logical Education  of  the  Episcopal  Church.  For  research  support, 
including  sabbatical  leave  and  administrative  and  collegial  expectations 
and  encouragement:  Seabury-Western  Theological  Seminary.  For 
transcription  of  texts  with  scholarly  queries  and  suggestions:  Katherine 
Sue  Campbell.  For  aid  in  evaluation  of  parliamentary  records:  P.  W. 
Hasler  of  the  History  of  Parliament  Trust  and  Michael  A.  R.  Graves 
of  the  University  of  Auckland.  For  aid  with  medieval  Hebrew:  Jack  B. 
Van  Hooser.  For  welcome  at  the  Cambridge  Tudor  seminar:  Geoffrey 
R.  Elton.  For  collegial  hospitality:  Rupert  Hoare  and  staff  and  stu- 
dents at  Westcott  House.  For  the  stimulation  of  seminar  engagement 
with  Hooker:  my  students  at  the  Seminario  Episcopal  del  Caribe  and 
at  Seabury-Western.  For  encouragement,  advice,  and  critiques:  my 
editorial  colleagues  in  the  Hooker  project;  for  these  and  for  unmerited 
patience  as  well:  our  general  editor.  For  consistent  support  and  per- 
ceptive assessments  of  vocational  priorities:  my  wife  Luisa. 

Arthur  Stephen  McGrade:  Before  all,  Betty  Jo  McGrade;  then  Leland 


Carlson,  Patrick  Collinson,  G.  R.  Elton,  Alan  Gewirth,  R.  H.  Helm- 
holz,  Howard  Kaminsky,  Jonathan  Scott  Lee,  Shelley  Lockwood, 
Michael  McHugh,  Anthony  Milton,  Christopher  Morris,  H.  C. 
Porter,  John  H.  M.  Salmon,  R.  J.  Schoeck,  Reinhold  Schumann, 
Quentin  Skinner,  Peter  G.  Stein,  Thomas  Suits,  Walter  Ullmann, 
Allen  Ward.  Staffs  of  the  following  libraries:  the  Folger  Shakespeare 
Library  and  the  Library  of  Congress  in  Washington,  D.  C,  The 
British  Library  and  Lambeth  Palace  Library  in  London,  The  Henry  E. 
Huntington  Library,  San  Marino,  and  the  Bibliotheque  Nationale, 
Paris;  and  the  libraries  at  the  University  of  Cambridge,  the  University 
of  Chicago,  the  University  of  Connecticut,  the  Episcopal  Divinity 
School,  Harvard  University  (especially  the  staff  of  the  Special  Collec- 
tions department  of  the  Law  Library),  the  University  of  Oxford,  and 
Yale  University.  For  research  grants  and  for  a  grant  towards  publica- 
tion of  this  volume,  the  University  of  Connecticut  Research  Founda- 

•  •  • 

If  the  general  editor  may  be  allowed  a  final  word,  I  would  espe- 
cially like  to  acknowledge  the  support  over  the  years  of  my  depart- 
ment at  Lehman  College,  through  its  successive  chairs,  Francis  Kearns, 
Bernard  Einbond,  Edgar  Roberts,  and  Mardi  Valgemae;  the  careful 
readings  given  earlier  volumes  by  the  Harvard  Press's  anonymous 
reader  (G.  Blakemore  Evans);  the  timely  assistance  of  Egil  Grislis,  the 
commentary  editor  for  volume  5,  in  helping  me  see  a  major  portion 
of  this  volume  through  the  press;  R.  H.  Helmholz's  help  with  regu- 
larizing Hooker's  canon  and  civil  law  references;  the  able  and  energet- 
ic work  of  Arthur  Stephen  McGrade  in  organizing  the  send-off  con- 
ference; the  contributing  editors  for  their  prompt  responses  to  many 
last-minute  queries;  and  the  continued  support  of  my  wife,  Linda, 
throughout  the  past  decade,  a  major  portion  of  which  was  spent  on 
seeing  the  present  volume — her  principal  rival — into  print. 

W.  Speed  Hill 
General  Editor 


A  Chronology  of  Richard  Hooker's  Life,  Georges  Edelen      xvii 

Abbreviations  and  Acronyms;  Internal  References  xxvii 

Part  One 

The  Preface,  William  P.  Haugaard  1 

Book  I,  Lee  W.  Gibbs  81 

Books  II,  III  &  IV,  William  P.  Haugaard  125 

Book  V,John  E.  Booty  183 
The  Three  Last  Books  and  Hooker's  Autograph  Notes, 

Arthur  Stephen  McGrade  233 

Book  VI,  Lee  W.  Gibbs  249 

Book  VII,  Arthur  Stephen  McGrade  309 

Book  VIII,  Arthur  Stephen  McGrade  337 


Introduction  to  the  Commentary  395 

The  Preface  403 

Book  I  477 

Book  II  523 

Book  III  553 

Book  IV  601 

Part  Two 


Book  V  653 

Book  VI  833 

Book  VII  895 

Book  VIII  985 

Textual  Supplements  1053 

Index  of  Scriptural  References  1101 

Bibliography  1157 


1 .  Title  page  of  Richard  Bancroft's  A  Survay  of  the  Pretended  Holy 
Discipline  (1593;  STC  1352).  By  permission  of  the  Folger  Shake- 
speare Library.  xxxii 

2.  Title  page  of  Theodoret  of  Cyrrhus's  Dialogi  tres  in  the  edition 
used  by  Hooker  (Rome,  1547).  By  permission  of  the  Beinecke 
Rare  Book  and  Manuscript  Library,  Yale  University.  182 

3.  Folio  107r  of  the  1569  edition  (STC  1352)  of  De  legibus  et  con- 
suetudinibus  Angliae,  attributed  to  Henry  de  Bracton.  By  per- 
mission of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  232 

4.  Title  page  of  John  Bridges's  A  Defence  of  the  government  established 
in  the  Church  of  Englande for  ecclesiasticall  matters  (1587;  STC  3734). 
By  permission  of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  248 

5.  Signature  A6r  of  An  Admonition  to  the  Parliament  of  1572  (STC 
10848).  By  permission  of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.      384 

6.  Page  174  of  John  Whitgift's  An  Answere  to  a  certen  libel  intituled, 
An  Admonition  (1573;  STC  25429).  By  permission  of  the  Folger 
Shakespeare  Library.  385 

7.  Pages  192—193  of  Thomas  Cartwright's  A  Replye  to  An  Answere 
made  of  M.  doctor  Whitgifte  (1573;  STC  4712).  By  permission  of 
the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  386—387 

8.  Pages  694—695  of  Whitgift's  The  Defense  of  the  Aunswere  to  the 
Admonition,  against  the  Replie  of  T.C.  (1574;  STC  25430.2).  By 
permission  of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  388—391 

9.  Page  151  of  The  Rest  of  the  Second  Replie  of  Thomas  Cartwright: 
agaynst  Master  Whitgifts  second  Answer  (1577;  STC  4715).  By  per- 
mission of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  392 

10.  Title  page  of  Walter  Travers's  Ecclesiasticae  Disciplinae,  et  Anglica- 
nae  Ecclesiae  ab  ilia  aberrationis  plena  e  verbo  Dei,  &  dilucida  explicatio 
(1574).  By  permission  of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library       402 


11.  Page  192  the  1577  Frankfurt  edition  of  Aristotle's  Nicomachean 
Ethics.  By  permission  of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.         476 

12.  A  passage  from  Tertullian's  De  corona  militis  {Opera,  Paris:  1566; 
1:745).  By  permission  of  the  Rare  Book  and  Manuscript  Library, 
Columbia  University.  522 

13.  Pages  2-3  of  John  Udall's  A  Demonstration  of  the  trueth  of  that  disci- 
pline which  Christe  hath  prescribed  in  his  worde  for  the  government  of  his 
Church,  in  all  times  and  places,  until  the  end  of  the  world  (1588;  STC 
24499).  By  permission  of  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  552 

14.  Page  189  of  Thomas  Stapleton's  Principiorumfidei  doctrinalium  dem- 
onstrate methodica  (1579;  1st  edn.,  1578).  By  permission  of  the 
Master  and  Fellows  of  St.  John's  College,  Cambridge.  1052 

A  Chronology  of 
Richard  Hooker's  Life 

Georges  Edelen 

The  following  table  lists  for  Richard  Hooker  (RH)  and  his  immediate 
family  those  dates  verifiable  from  surviving  records.  In  several  cases 
key  dates  are  given  that,  although  not  strictly  ascertainable,  seem  prob- 
able from  the  evidence.  The  following  abbreviations  are  used: 


Devon  Muster 






Le  Neve 

Libri  Magni 

Life  of  Carew 
Nowell's  Money 

Archives  of  Corpus  Christi  College,  Oxford. 
The  Devon  Muster  Roll  for  1569,  ed.  A.  J.  How- 
ard and  T.  L.  Stoate  (Bristol,  1977). 
The  Annals  of  Ireland  .  .  .  by  Thady  Dowling,  ed. 
Richard    Butler,    Irish    Archaeological    Society 
(Dublin,  1849). 
Exeter  Records  Office. 

Thomas  Fowler,  The  History  of  Corpus  Christi  Col- 
lege, Oxford  Historical  Soc,  25  (Oxford,  1893). 
Middle  Temple  Records,  ed.  Charles  Henry  Hop- 
wood,  4  vols.  (London,  1904-1905). 
A  Calendar  of  the  Inner  Temple  Records,  ed.  F.  A. 
Inderwick,  3  vols.  (London,  1896-1901). 
Kent  Archives  Office,  Maidstone. 
John  Le  Neve,  Fasti  Ecclesiae  Anglicance,  rev.  ed., 
1541—1857,   Vol.   6:   Salisbury  Diocese,   comp. 
Joyce  M.  Horn,  Institute  of  Historical  Research 
(London,  1986). 

Annual  summaries  of  income  and  disbursements 
at   CCC;    C/l/1/5    contains   the   accounts   for 
1570-1580;  C/l/1/6  for  1580-1584. 
John   Hooker,    The  Life  and   Times  of  Sir  Peter 
Carew,  Kt.,  ed.  John  Maclean  (London,  1857). 
The  Spending  of  the  Money  of  Robert  Nowell,  ed. 
Alexander  B.  Grosart  (Manchester,  1877). 
The  Seconde  Parte  of  a  Register,  ed.  Albert  Peel,  2 
vols.  (Cambridge,  1915). 


Register  KK 



9  August  1537 

29  June  1552 
through  1557 

early  April  1554 

Oct.  1562  to 
April  1565 

13  October 

26  May  1568 

Register    of    Convocation    and    Congregation 
1564-1582,  Oxford  University  Archives. 
C.  J.  Sisson,  The  Judicious  Marriage  of M'  Hooker 
and  the  Birth  of   "The  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity" 
(Cambridge,  1938). 

A  Transcript  of  the  Registers  of  the  Company  of  Sta- 
tioners of  London  1554-1640  AD,  5  vols.,  ed.  Ed- 
ward Arber  (London,  1875-1894). 
Unpublished  notes  to  Walton's  life  of  Hooker 
(quoted  by  permission  of  Professor  Peter  Ure's 
estate),  citing  Lincoln  diocesan  records. 
Izaak  Walton's  Life  of  Hooker,  in  RH,  Works,  ed. 
Keble  (1888),  1:1-99. 
Wiltshire  Records  Office,  Trowbridge. 

Robert  Hooker  dies,  leaving 
his  younger  son  Roger  (father 
of  RH)  his  interest  in  tinworks 
within  the  Stannary  and  1/14  of 
his  "goods  moveable  and  not." 

Roger  H's  debts  mounting, 
owes  his  brother  John,  who  is 
covering  for  him,  >£129  3s. 

RH  born,  in  or  near  Exeter. 

Roger  H  in  Spain  as  steward 
to  the  ambassador,  Sir  Thomas 

Roger  H  witnesses  Chaloner's 
will  in  England,  is  left  £20  and 
an  annuity  of  £6  13s.  Ad.  from 
lands  in  Yorkshire. 

John  H  writes  Sir  Peter  Carew 
recommending  his  brother 
Roger,  "now  dwelling  with 
the  old  Lady  Mountjoy,"  as  his 
steward  at  Leighlin  in  Ireland. 

EXRO,  Book 
55,  fol.  93r 

EXRO,  Book 
57,  p.  148 

CCC  Admis- 
sion Records 

State  Papers, 
Foreign,  1562— 

PRO,  PCC,  47 

Life  of  Carew, 
pp.  194-205 


June  1569 

10  August  1569 

Fall  1569  (?) 

pre-July  1570 
Oct.  70-Oct.  71 

1571  (?) 

Oct.  71-Oct.  72 
30  Jan.  1572 
12  Feb.  1572 

Oct.  72-Oct.  73 

8  Mar  1573 

Oct.  1573 
24  Dec.  1573 

Roger  H  appears  on  muster 
roll  at  Totness. 

Roger  H  writes  Irish  Lord 
Chancellor  from  Leighlin 
pleading  for  military  help 
against  Irish  rebels. 

RH  matriculates  at  CCC. 

RH  of  CCC  gets  205.  from 
Nowell  Trust. 

RH  get  45.  6d.  clothing  allow- 
ance as  chorister  at  CCC,  ap- 
parently pro-rated  beginning 
ca.  Dec.  1570. 

RH  visits  Jewel  (d.  23  Sept.) 
and  mother  in  Exeter. 

RH  gets  105.  clothing  allow- 
ance as  chorister  at  CCC. 

RH  gets  IO5.  from  Nowell 
Trust  as  "poor  scholar"  of  CCC 

RH  gets  25.  6d.  from  Nowell 
Trust  to  "bring  him  to  Oxford" 
(i.e.,  to  return  from  a  trip). 

RH  gets  IO5.  clothing  allowance 
as  chorister. Libri  Magni,  fol.  34r 

RH  gets  35.  Ad.  from  Nowell 

RH  supplicates  BA,  admitted 
Jan.  1574,  determines  early  1574. 
RH  admitted  disciple  at  CCC. 

Devon  Muster 

Life  of  Carew, 
pp.  221-222 

RH's  grace  for 
BA  in  Oct. 
1573  (see  be- 
low) specifies 
he  has  studied 
for  four  years 

Nowell's  Money, 
p.  206 

Libri  Magni, 
C/l/1/5,  fol. 


pp.  12-13 

Libri  Magni, 
fol.  22v 

Nowell's  Money, 
p.  220 

Nowell's  Money, 
p.  220 

Nowell's  Money, 
p.  224 

Register  KK,  fol. 


Fowler,  p.  390 


Oct.  73-Oct.  74     RH  gets  stipend  of  26s.  8d.  as 
disciple,  clothing  allowance 
prorated  of  65.  8d. 

Oct.  74-Oct.  75     RH  gets  stipend  of  26s.  8d., 
clothing  allowance  of  135.  A d. 
as  disciple. 

28  April  1575         RH  gets  5s.  from  Nowell  Trust. 

Oct.  75-Oct.  76 

Oct.  76-Oct.  77 

4  Feb.  1577 
16  Sept.  77 

13  Oct.  1577 

Oct.  77-Oct.  78 
Oct.  78-Oct.  79 

14  July  1579 

RH  gets  stipend  of  26s.  8d., 
clothing  allowance  of  135.  Ad. 

RH  gets  stipend  of  265.  8d., 
clothing  allowance  of  135.  Ad.; 
CCC  pays  8d.  for  a  bushel  of 
lime  and  hair  for  Mr  Hooker's 

RH  supplicates  MA,  licensed  29 
March  1577,  incorporated  1577. 

RH  becomes  Scholar  (proba- 
tionary fellow)  of  CCC 

RH  appointed  to  annual  term 
as  one  of  the  "Masters  of  the 

RH  gets  stipend  of  265.  8 d., 
clothing  allowance  of  135.  Ad. 

RH  gets  stipend  of  335.  Ad. 
(prorated  for  full  fellowship  in 
Sept.),  clothing  allowance  of 
135.  Ad. 

RH  appointed  deputy  Profes- 
sor of  Hebrew,  to  cover  for 
the  Regius  Professor,  Thomas 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  45r,  46r 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  57v,  58v 

Nowell's  Money, 
p.  226 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  69v,  70v 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  81r,  82r, 

Register  KK, 
fol.  229v 

CCC,  Fulman 
collections,  X, 
fol.  175v 

Register  KK. 
fol.  247r 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  93r,  94r 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  106r,  106v 

Register  KK, 
fol.  288r 



14  Aug.  1579  RH  ordained  deacon  by  John 

Aylmer  at  Fulham  Palace. 

14  Sept.  79  RH  gives  bond  as  full  fellow. 

Oct.  79-Oct.  80 


Oct.  1580 

Oct.  80-Oct.  81 

2  July  1581 

Oct.  81-Oct.  82 

21  Sept.  82 

Oct.  82-Oct.  83 

RH  gets  stipend  of  535.  Ad.  as 
ordained  fellow,  clothing  al- 
lowance of  16s.  8  d.  as  graduate 

Roger  H,  Dean  of  Leighlin, 
captured  by  Irish  rebels  under 
Feagh  McHugh. 

John  Rainolds,  RH,  and  3 
other  fellows  expelled  from 
CCC;  restored  by  4  November 

RH  gets  stipend  of  53s.  4d., 
clothing  allowance  of  16s.  8  d.  and 
is  repaid  8s.  for  "charges  bestowed 
about  the  chapel  chamber." 

RH  witnesses  fellowship  bonds 
of  Richard  Cobbe  and  William 

RH  gets  stipend  of  53s.  Ad., 
clothing  allowance  of  20s.  as 
one  of  7  senior  fellows;  twice 
rides  to  Basingstoke  with  other 
fellows  in  Easter  term  to  exam- 
ine Mr  Greneway's  accounts. 

Mayor  and  Chamber  of  Exeter 
grant  RH  (son  of  Roger,  de- 
ceased) annual  pension  of  £A. 

RH  gets  stipend  of  53s.  Ad., 
clothing  allowance  of  20s. 

London  Book 
of  Ordinations, 
Guildhall  MS 


Libri  Magni, 
fols.  119\  119v 

p.  439 

CCC,  Fulman 
collections,  IX, 
174,  180 

Libri  Magni, 
C/l/1/6,  fols. 
6\  7V, 

-V       -.V       0r 

CCC  B/2/5 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  18v,  19v, 

EXRO,  Act 
Book  #4, 
p.  399 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  31\  31v 


23  March  83 
Oct.  83-Oct.  84 

16  Oct.  1584 
Fall  1584  (?) 
4  Dec.  1584 

7  Feb.  1585 

17  March  85 
25  June  1585 

12  Oct.  1585 
6  April  1586 


RH  witnesses  fellowship  bonds 
of  George  Sellar  and  Henry 

RH  gets  stipend  of  535.  Ad., 
clothing  allowance  of  20s.,  and 
additionally  135.  Ad.  as  junior 

RH  compounds  for  first  fruits  of 
Drayton  Beauchamp  in  Bucks. 
(Lincoln  diocese),  presented  by 
John  Cheney  (Cheyne). 

RH  gives  Paul's  Cross  sermon. 

Letter  to  Rainolds  from  London 
printer  George  Bishop  indicating 
RH  had  delivered  to  him  a  Rain- 
olds  MS  earlier  in  the  year. 

RH  mentioned  as  new  Master 
of  the  Temple. 

RH  appointed  as  Master  by 
Letters  Patent  from  the  Crown. 

RH  to  have  18  d.  a  year  from 
every  man  in  Commons  of 
Middle  Temple,  as  Master. 

RH  resigns  Drayton  Beauchamp. 

Charles  Taylor  in  a  letter  to  Mr 
Houldesworth,  preacher  at  New- 
castle, summarizes  RH's  position 
in  a  sermon  at  "Inner  Temple." 

RH  of  Temple  "preacheth  but 
now  and  then." 

CCC  B/2/5 

Libri  Magni, 
fols.  42v,  43r 


Walton's  sug- 
gested date, 
1581  (p.  22),  is 

CCC  MS  c.  318 


Walton,  p.  27 



State  Papers, 
Domestic,  and 
p.  318 

Peel,  2:284 


13  Feb.  1588  RH  marries  Joan  Churchman 

at  St.  Augustine,  London 

25  Oct.  1588  Richard  Walter  of  Middle 

Temple,  a  papist,  to  have  con- 
ference with  Mr  Hooker 
touching  his  reformation. 

19  Jan.  1589  Richard,  son  of  RH,  baptized 

at  St.  Augustine. 

2  Feb.  1589  Richard  buried,  Enfield. 

11  May  1589  Inner  Temple  orders  a  special 

admission  for  Thomas  Adams, 
at  the  request  of  Mr  Hooker. 

10  May  1590  Alice,  dau.  of  RH,  baptized, 

St.  Augustine. 

21  April  1591  Cecily,  dau.  of  RH,  baptized, 

St.  Augustine. 

21  June  1591  RH  subdean  of  Salisbury,  pre- 

bendary of  Netheravon,  rector 
of  Boscombe,  presented  by 
Queen;  admitted  and  instituted 
by  Whitgift,  17  July. 

17  July  1591  RH  signs  subscription  book  to 

39  Articles 

23  July  1591  RH  installed  in  offices  at  Salis- 


Sept.  1591  RH's  letter  to  Rainolds  from 


30  Nov.  1591         RH  participates  in  election  of 
John  Coldwell  as  Bishop  of 

Parish  register 
at  London 

Parish  register 

Parish  register  in 
Sisson,  p.  126 


Parish  register 

Parish  register 

Le  Neve,  p.  60 

John  Bernard, 
Claui  Trabales, 
1661,  p.  147 

Chapter  Act 
Book  16,  fols. 

CCC,  C318, 
fol.  137r 

Chapter  Act 
Book  16,  fol. 


1  Dec.  1591  RH  holds  subdean's  court  at 


1  Oct.  1592  Jane,  dau.  of  RH,  baptized  at 


26  Jan.  1593  Contract  signed  between 

Edwin  Sandys  and  John  Win- 
det  for  printing  of  Laws. 

29  Jan.  1593  Lawes  entered  in  Stationers' 

Register  to  John  Windet. 

13  Mar.  1593  RH  sends  copy  of  Lawes,  I-IV 

to  Burghley. 

7  Jan.  1595  RH  presented  to  living  of 

Bishopsbourne  by  Queen. 

16  Feb.  1595  RH's  successor  as  subdean  in- 


21  June  1596  Edwin,  son  of  RH,  baptized, 

St.  Augustine. 

22  July  1597  Edwin  buried,  Enfield, 
ca.  Dec.  97  Lawes,  V  published. 

25  Oct.  1600  RH  makes  will. 

2  Nov.  1600,  RH  dies. 

2  p.m. 

4  Nov.  1600  RH  buried,  Bishopsbourne. 

Act  Book 
1589-96,  fol.  6r 

Sisson,  p.  125 

Interrogatory  in 
Chancery,  in 
Sisson,  p.  128 

SR,  2:625 

This  edn., 
1  :xviii— xix 

State  Papers, 
1595-1597,  p.  2 

Le  Neve,  p.  60 
Parish  register 

Sisson,  p.  126 

Deposition  of 
Nicholas  Eve- 
leigh,  in  Sisson, 
p.  139 


Noted  by  Wm. 
Laud,  cited 
CCC,  Fulman 
cols.  X,  fol.  27v 

Parish  register  at 
Canterbury  Ca- 
thedral Archives 


26  Nov.  1600         Inventory  of  RH's  estate.  KAO,  PRC 


23  Mar.  1601  Joan  H,  widow,  marries  Edward     Parish  register 

Nethersole  at  Bishopsbourne. 

18  Feb.  1603  Joan  Nethersole  buried  at  St.  Parish  register  at 

Peter's,  Canterbury.  Cathedral 


1610-1624  Suits  in  Chancery  by  RH's  Sisson,  pp.  127- 

daughters  against  Edwin  Sandys      173 
and  others. 

Abbreviations  and  Acronyms 

Short  titles  follow  the  corresponding  full  citation  in  the  Bibliography. 

a  . .  .  z 









B.C.  P.,  1559 





C.J.  Can. 

C.J.  Civ. 








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Richard  Hooker,  Answer  to  the  Supplication  (of  Walter 
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Blackfriars  Edition,  Thomas  Aquinas,  Summa  theologiae 
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The  Second  Thomas  Cartwright,  The  Second  Replie  of  Thomas  Cart- 

Replie  (=  2:)        wright:  agaynst  maister  Whitgiftes  Second  Answer  (1575) 
STC  A   Short-Title   Catalogue   .  .  .    1475-1640,   2nd  edn. 

Sisson  C.  J.  Sisson,  The  Judicious  Marriage  of  Mr  Hooker  and 

the  Birth  of  "The  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity"  (1940) 
S.R.  Statutes  of  the  Realm,  12  vols.  (1810-1828) 

S.R.H.  Studies  in  Richard  Hooker  (1972) 

S.T.  Thomas  Aquinas,  Summae  theologiae 

Supplication  A  Supplication  made  to  the  Privy  Counsel,  Volume  5, 

this  edition  (1990) 



Horton  Davies,  Worship  of  the  English  Puritans  (1948) 
The  Whole  Volume  of  Statutes,  2  vols.  (1587) 

Internal  References 

volume  number,  this  edition 
page  number (s),  this  edition 
line  number(s),  this  edition 
Hooker's  note,  at  foot  of  text  page 
line  number  of  Hooker's  note  (rare) 
commentary  note,  this  edn. 

1:20.15-27/3.11         IV.6.3-4 

section  numbers  (Keble's) 

chapter  number  (Hooker's) 

Book,    Of  the  Lawes  of  Ecclesiasticall 


The  Folger  Library  Edition 

The  Works  of  Richard  Hooker 

/fiLonf-  y& 





Contay  ning  the  bcginningcs,  fuccefie,parts,  proceedings, 
authority,  and  doctrine  of  it :  with  lonie  of  the  ma- 
nifold, and  materiall  repugnances,  varie- 
ties and  vncertaincties,  in  that 

Faithfully  gathered,  byway  of  hifioricall  narration,  out  of  the 

hookes  andmitingeijoffrmifallfauouren  ofthatplatforme 

Anno  z$pS' 

They  wouldbe  Do&ors  of  the  Law :  and  yet  vnderftand  not  what  they 

Ipeakc :  neither  whereof  they affirme.  i.Tim  1.7. 
gententias  veftras  prodidiffc,  fuperaflc  eft.  Hier.  ad  Ccefiph.  adu.PcUg,c..f. 
To  acquaint j  tut  with  tUir  difcifline,  it  tt  ouerthrew  it. 

WriAK?*  •  ^°iid^  fry  yto®  woifc  is  9  h 

1 .  Title  page  of  Richard  Bancroft's  A  Survay  of  the  Pretended  Holy  Discipline  (1 593; 
STC  1352),  an  account  of  disciplinarian  Puritanism  that  appeared  in  the  same  year  as 
the  Preface  and  first  four  books  of  Hooker's  Lawes  (reduced). 


The  Preface 

William  P.  Haugaard 

Addressing  himself  "To  them  that  seeke  (as  they  tearme  it)  the  reforma- 
tion of  Lawes,  and  orders  Ecclesiasticall,  in  the  Church  of  England,"  and 
setting  out  "the  cause  and  occasion"  of  his  treatise  Of  the  Lawes  of  Ecclesi- 
asticall Politie,  Richard  Hooker  (1554?— 1600)  opened  its  Preface  with 
a  solemn  declaration  of  purpose: 

Though  for  no  other  cause,  yet  for  this;  that  posteritie  may  know  we 
have  not  loosely  through  silence  permitted  things  to  passe  away  as  in  a 
dreame,  there  shall  be  for  mens  information  extant  thus  much  concerning 
the  present  state  of  the  Church  of  God  established  amongst  us,  and  their 
carefull  endevour  which  woulde  have  upheld  the  same.  (Pref.  1.1; 

In  the  twentieth  century,  many  of  those  "things"  for  which  Richard 
Hooker  took  "so  much  paine"  have,  in  fact,  passed  away:  the  shared 
allegiance  of  European  peoples  to  the  truths  of  Christian  revelation; 
the  common  assumption  that  a  nation  was  best  bound  together  by 
common  religious  values  and  structures  embedded  in  "Lawes,  and 
orders  Ecclesiasticall";  the  finely  articulated  and  rigidly  hierarchical 
inequalities  that  were  widely  judged  to  be  God-given  conditions  of 
earthly  human  life;  the  effectual  royal  power  in  the  English  monarchy. 
Yet  all  these  "things"  now  passed  away  were  then  acknowledged  and 
held  by  those  who  sought  "reformation"  as  well  as  by  those  who  shared 
Hooker's  commitment  to  "the  present  state  of  the  Church  of  God  estab- 

Clarendon  recalled  it  on  the  opening  page  of  his  History  of  the  Rebellion;  see 
Edward  Hyde,  Earl  of  Clarendon,  The  History  of  the  Rebellion  and  Civil  Wars  in 
England,  ed.  W.  D.  Macray  (Oxford,  1888;  rpr.  1958),  1:1.  A  plate  of  the  Bodleian 
MS  shows  that  Clarendon  originally  wrote:  "If  for  no  other  reason,  yet  lest  [?] 
posterity  may  be  deceaved .  .  . ."  He  revised  it  to  read:  "That  posterity  may  not  be 
deceaved  .  .  .  ." 



established"  in  late  sixteenth-century  England.  In  the  Lawes  Hooker's 
intent  was  to  demonstrate  that,  despite  his  agreement  with  his  oppo- 
nents on  fundamentals  of  Christian  faith  and  their  joint  acceptance  of 
existing  societal  structures,  their  program  to  reform  the  Church  of 
England  betrayed  important  components  of  the  revelation  of  truth  to 
which  they  adhered  and  insidiously  subverted  the  communal  bonds  to 
which  they  gave  homage. 

Other  "things"  which  claimed  Hooker's  "carefull  endeuour"  have  not 
passed  away:  a  Christian  theology  that  seeks  to  discover  God-given 
truths  for  life  and  church  in  the  fabric  of  creation  and  in  inherited 
human  wisdom  as  well  as  in  the  pages  of  Holy  Scriptures;  a  convic- 
tion that  times,  persons,  and  circumstances  may  and  do  alter  the  ways 
in  which  timeless  principles  should  be  applied  to  particular  situations; 
a  Protestant  Christianity  that  incorporates  traditionally  Catholic  epis- 
copal ministerial  orders  and  liturgical  rites;  an  ecumenical  understand- 
ing that  the  parts  of  the  Christian  West  separated  in  earlier  years  of 
the  sixteenth  century,  whatever  their  individual  differences,  nonethe- 
less remain  members  of  the  one  Church  of  Jesus  Christ. 

On  these  issues,  Hooker  judged  his  opponents,  "for  whose  sakes  so 
much  paine  is  taken,"  to  be  misguided  in  seeking  "(as  they  tearme  it)  the 
reformation"  of  the  Church  of  England. 

i.  Elizabeth's  Reign: 
Crucible  for  an  Emerging  Anglicanism 

The  issues  that  Richard  Hooker  confronted  in  the  Lawes  were 
rooted  in  the  distinctive  form  of  Christian  faith  and  practice  that  had 
been  developing  within  the  structures  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement. 
Catholic  opponents  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement  had  struggled 
throughout  the  reign  to  undo  it;  Protestant  opponents  had  attempted 
to  reshape  it.  The  character  of  the  Church  of  England  was  being 
formed,  in  part,  in  response  to  those  pressures  from  without  and 
within.  Three  centuries  later  that  form,  as  it  continued  to  develop, 
would  be  known  as  "Anglicanism."  Its  fundamental  characteristics 
were  present  in  the  Elizabethan  church,  but  no  theologian  before 
Richard  Hooker  had  given  them  systematic  or  coherent  theological 

The  Preface 

exposition.  In  Hooker's  sixteenth-century  eyes,  the  religion  of  the 
Church  of  England  did  not  constitute  an  "ism"  or  a  "denomination" 
but  simply  Christianity  as  lived  within  the  national  church,  a  "distinct 
. . .  visible  society"  of  "the  Catholike  Church"  (III.  1.14;  1:205.25-28). 
When  he  took  up  his  pen  to  defend  its  religious  faith  and  practice,  it 
was  in  defense  of  an  institution  that  had  nurtured  and  sustained  him 
in  his  own  life  and  ministry. 

The  Church  of  England  in  European  Perspective 

The  vision  of  "Christendom" — the  medieval  community  of  the 
west  united  in  religious  faith  and  practice — did  not  die  with  the 
Reformation.  Popes  and  reformers  alike  affirmed  it,  marvelling  at  the 
obstinacy  of  their  ecclesiastical  opponents  whose  erroneous  under- 
standings thwarted  the  restoration  of  unity.  Within  each  of  the  politi- 
cal divisions  of  Europe,  moreover,  the  vision  continued  to  be  legally 
sanctioned.  The  scattered  groups  which  attempted  to  sunder  the  bonds 
between  church  and  state,  collectively  known  as  Anabaptists,  were  as 
strongly  repudiated  by  other  Protestants  as  by  Catholics.  The  larger 
vision  of  European  religious  unity  remained  on  the  horizon,  fed  from 
time  to  time  by  futile  efforts  to  promote  ecumenical  reconciliation. 
Occasional  observers,  however,  suggested  that,  among  the  Reforma- 
tion patterns,  that  of  the  English  church  was  distinct  from  those  of  the 

Relevant  studies  of  the  sixteenth-century  Reformation  in  England  include:  A. 
G.  Dickens,  The  English  Reformation  (New  York:  Schocken,  1964);  Philip  Hughes,  The 
Reformation  in  England,  3  vols.  (New  York:  Macmillan,  1951-1954);  Horton  Davies, 
Worship  and  Theology  in  England  from  Cranmer  to  Hooker,  1534-1603  (Princeton: 
Princeton  University  Press,  1970);  Felicity  Heal  and  Rosemary  O'Day,  eds.,  Continuity 
and  Change:  Personnel  and  Administration  of  the  Church  in  England,  1500-1642  (Leicest- 
er: Leicester  University  Press,  1976)  and  Church  and  Society  in  England:  Henry  VIII  to 
James  I  (London:  Archon,  1977);  Rosemary  O'Day,  The  Debate  on  the  English  Reforma- 
tion (London:  Methuen,  1986);  Patrick  McGrath,  Papists  and  Puritans  under  Elizabeth 
I  (London:  Blandford,  1967);  J.  E.  Neale,  Elizabeth  I  and  her  Parliaments,  2  vols. 
(1953—1957),  hereafter,  Neale;  Wallace  T.  MacCaftrey,  The  Shaping  of  the  Elizabethan 
Regime  and  Queen  Elizabeth  and  the  Making  of  Policy  (Princeton:  Princeton  University 


From  a  European  perspective,  the  most  important  fact  of  the 
Elizabethan  settlement  was  the  repudiation  of  papal  authority.  When 
Elizabeth  opted  for  revived  ecclesiastical  independence,  she  made  the 
most  momentous  single  political — as  well  as  religious — decision  of  her 
reign.  In  the  eyes  of  most  of  Hooker's  contemporaries,  the  split 
between  Catholic  and  Protestant,  as  those  terms  were  generally  em- 
ployed, loomed  larger  than  any  among  established  Protestant  churches. 
Yet  this  simplistic  dichotomy  did  not  satisfy  all  sixteenth-century 
English  witnesses.  In  the  first  years  of  Elizabeth's  reign,  Nicholas 
Throckmorton  (1515—1571),  English  ambassador  to  France,  stimulated 
by  the  abortive  Roman  Catholic-Huguenot  discussions  at  Poissy, 
urged  William  Cecil  (1520-1598,  created  Baron  Burghley,  1571),  the 
queen's  principal  secretary,  to  procure  an  essay  which  might  demon- 
strate the  virtues  of  the  English  form  of  reformation.  Conversations 
with  French  Protestants  and  Catholics  had  convinced  him  that  "the 
formulary  of  the  Church  of  England"  offered  an  example  of  reforma- 
tion "better  allowed  of  the  Papists  . . .  than  that  of  Geneva,  or  any 
form  used  in  Germany."  When  he  received  a  copy  of  the  Latin 
Apology  of  the  Church  of  England  ofjohn  Jewel  (1522—1571),  he  wished 
that  the  author  might  have  "as  well  answered  the  Calvinists  and 
others"  as  he  had  responded  to  the  Roman  Catholics. 

In  the  closing  years  of  the  century,  Edwin  Sandys  (1561—1629),  in 
company  with  George  Cranmer  (1563—1600),  made  a  lengthy  journey 
through  the  continent,  concluding  his  trip  by  writing  an  essay  directed 
to  Archbishop  John  Whitgift  sketching  out  a  possible  reconciliation 
between  Catholics  and  Protestants.  He  had  found  "a  kind  of  men  . . . 
in  all  Countries,  not  many  in  number,  but  sundry  of  them  of  singular 
learning   and   pietie,    whose    godly   longings    to    see    Christendome 

Press,   1968-81);  and  William  P.  Haugaard,  Elizabeth  and  the  English  Reformation 
(Cambridge:  The  University  Press,  1968). 

Nicholas  Throckmorton  to  William  Cecil,  28  December  1561  and  24  January 
1562;  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  Foreign  Series,  of  the  Reign  of  Elizabeth  .  .  .  preserved  in  the 
State  Paper  Department  of  her  Majesty's  Public  Record  Office  (1863-74),  4:462  and  504. 
Nicholas  was  uncle  of  Job  Throckmorton,  the  militant  Puritan  M.P.  who  was 
evidently  Martin  Marprelate;  see  pp.  23-25  and  29,  below. 

The  Preface 

reunited  ...  in  the  possession  of  one  ground  and  foundation  of  faith, 
doe  expect  the  same."  "In  their  more  sober  moodes,"  many  Roman 
Catholics  will  acknowledge  England 

to  have  beene  the  only  nation  that  walke  the  right  way  of  justi- 
fieable  reformation,  in  comparison  of  other,  who  have  runne 
headlong  rather  to  a  tumultuous  innovation  (so  they  conceive  it) 
...  no  Luther,  no  Calvine,  the  square  of  their  faith,  what  pub- 
lique  discussing  and  long  deliberation  did  perswade  them  to  be 
faultie,  that  taken  away.  (sig.  V3V) 

A  measure  of  self-satisfied  chauvinism  marks  the  opinions  of 
Throckmorton  and  Sandys,  but  their  judgments  reflected  a  recognition 
among  some  contemporaries  that  the  English  church  represented  a 
kind  of  Protestant  tertium  quid  among  established  European  churches, 
whose   character   suggested   the   possibility   of  rapprochement   with 

A  relation  of  the  state  of  religion:  and  with  what  hopes  and  pollicies  it  hath  been  framed, 
and  is  maintained  in  the  severall  states  of  the  Westeme  partes  of  the  world  (1605;  STC 
21717),  sig.  S4V.  The  first  1605  edition  (STC  21716),  published  anonymously,  was 
publicly  burned  2  Nov.  1605;  The  Letters  of  John  Chamberlain,  ed.  N.  E.  McClure 
(Philadelphia,  1939),  1:214,  cited  in  STC,  2:303.  The  1629  edition  published  at  The 
Hague  claimed  to  be  written  from  the  "Authours  Originall  Copie"  in  contrast  to  the 
"spurious  stolne  Copie"  of  1605;  it  was  entitled  Europa  Speculum.  Or,  a  view  or  survey  of 
the  state  of  religion  in  the  westeme  parts  of  the  world  (STC  21718;  sig.  7tlr  and  712*) .  The 
opening  preface,  instead  of  being  addressed  to  the  reader  as  in  1605,  was  personally 
addressed  to  Archbishop  Whitgift  (sig.  al1),  and  the  essay  ended  with  the  author's 
request  to  take  "leave  of  your  Grace"  and  dated  "From  Paris.  IX°.  Aprill.  1599."  (p. 
248).  Four  further  editions  were  published  in  London  in  1632  (2),  1637,  and  1638; 
these  followed  the  1629  edition  with  a  few  minor  changes  in  the  section  "To  the 
Reader"  and  the  claim  on  the  title  page  that  the  book  came  from  a  manuscript 
acknowledged  by  the  author  "for  a  true  Copie."  Sandys  died  in  1629.  On  the  dates 
of  Cranmer  and  Sandys's  journey,  see  n.  87,  below. 

H.  R.  Trevor-Roper  pointed  out  the  significance  of  Sandys's  work  for  an 
understanding  of  Hooker's  perspective  in  New  York  Review  of  Books,  24  November 
1977,  rpr.  as  "Richard  Hooker  and  the  Church  of  England,"  Renaissance  Essays 
(London:  Martin  Seeker  &  Warberg;  Chicago:  University  of  Chicago  Press,  1985),  pp. 
103—120.  And  see  W.  Speed  Hill,  "The  Doctrinal  Background  of  Richard  Hooker's 
Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity"  Ph.D.  diss.,  Harvard  University,  1964,  pp.  102-121. 


Roman  Catholic  as  well  as  with  fellow  Protestant  churches. 

As  the  comments  of  Throckmorton  and  Sandys  suggest,  however, 
the  terms  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement  did  not  easily  fall  into  the  neat 
division  that  divided  continental  adherents  of  the  magisterial  Reforma- 
tion into  Lutheran  and  Reformed.  In  early  years  of  the  reign,  Jewel 
considered  the  English  church  to  stand  between  Rome  on  one  side 
and  Anabaptists  on  the  other,  sharing  that  central  ground  with  both 
Lutheran  and  Reformed,  insisting  that  they  be  "good  friends  and 
brethren,  . . .  [varying]  not  betwixt  themselves  upon  the  principles  and 
foundations  of  our  religion." 

One  of  the  more  subtle  and  frequently  unrecognized  differences 
between  the  English  church  and  its  continental  cousins  lay  in  the 
relative  importance  placed  on  prescribed  liturgies  compared  with  that 
placed  on  formal  confessions  of  faith.  Both  Lutheran  and  Reformed 
defined  their  ecclesiastical  identity  by  their  adhesion  to  such  confes- 
sional statements.  As  the  century  progressed,  the  definitions  tended  to 
grow  in  both  length  and  exclusiveness;  they  tolerated,  however, 
within  each  confessional  family,  wide  differences  in  forms  of  worship. 
In  the  Elizabethan  settlement,  the  English  church  first  established  its 
liturgy  and  then  took  twelve  years  to  produce  and  authorize  its 
Articles  of  Religion,  which  turned  out  to  be  both  shorter  and  more 
inclusive  than  the  predecessor  on  which  they  were  based.  Further- 
more, all  members  of  the  English  church,  lay  and  clerical,  were  subject 
to  the  liturgical  provisions  of  the  Prayer  Book,  but  enforcement  of 
doctrine  touched  only  clergy  and  lay  church  officials. 

Although  early  English  reformers  had  been  influenced  by  Luther 
and  condemned  as  Lutheran  heretics,  by  mid-century  most  English 
personal  ties  with  continental  Protestants  centered  on  the  Reformed 
communities  of  Switzerland  and  the  upper  Rhine.  On  the  issue  most 
sharply  debated  between  the  two  continental  groups,  that  of  the 
Eucharistic  presence,  most  reform-minded  English  theologians  agreed 
with  continental  critics  of  the  developed  Lutheran  doctrine  in  judging 
what  they  understood  to  be  "consubstantiation"  to  be  as  wrong- 

An  Apology  of  the  Church  of  England,  ed.  John  E.  Booty  (Ithaca:  Cornell  Univer- 
sity Press,  1963),  p.  48. 

The  Preface 

headed  as  the  "transubstantiation"  of  Roman  Catholics.  In  spite  of  the 
strengthened  assertion  of  Christ's  presence  in  Elizabethan  Prayer  Book 
and  Articles,  the  English  standards  failed  the  strict  tests  that  the  Saxon 
Lutherans  set  forth  in  the  1577  Formula  of  Concord.  As  the  doctrine 
of  election  came  to  the  fore  toward  the  end  of  the  century  as  another 
dividing  line  between  Lutheran  and  continental  Reformed,  English 
opinions  were  more  diverse.  Many,  including  most  advanced  Protes- 
tants, joined  the  latter  in  emphasizing  John  Calvin's  (1509-1564) 
doctrine  of  predestination  so  as  to  make  it  a  central  theme  of  theolog- 
ical discussion. 

In  other  respects  Prayer  Book  liturgies  were  more  traditionally 
Catholic  than  those  of  continental  Protestants,  sharing  more,  both  in 
structure  and  content,  with  Lutheran  than  with  Reformed.  From  a 
later  perspective,  if  the  focus  is  on  church  life  in  general  rather  than 
on  formal  confessions  of  faith,  the  resemblance  between  Lutheran  and 
English  churches  is  striking.  Yet  the  personal  associations  between 
English  and  Reformed,  the  strong  Reformed  convictions  of  an  active 
body  of  English  lay  and  clerical  theologians  and  leaders,  the  formula- 
tion of  the  Eucharistic  presence  in  the  Articles  of  Religion,  the  use  of 
various  Reformed  catechetical  materials  in  schools  and  universities, 
and  the  priority  given  to  doctrinal  symbolics  led  continental  Europe- 
ans, and  many  English  as  well,  to  perceive  the  Church  of  England  as 
a  part  of  the  international  Reformed  community  of  churches.  Popular 
report  rather  than  ignorance  or  perversity  led  Pius  V  (1504—1572)  to 
condemn  Elizabeth  and  those  "who  cleave  to  her"  in  heresy  as  "Cal- 

"Subtle  Sacramentarians  . . .  talk  our  language  very  plausibly,  .  . .  but  under  this 
plausible  terminology  they  really  retain  the  former  crass  opinion  that  in  the  Holy 
Supper  nothing  but  bread  and  wine  are  present  and  received  with  the  mouth"; 
Formula  of  Concord,  Epitome,  Article  7;  The  Book  of  Concord,  Theodore  G.  Tappert, 
ed.  (Philadephia:  Muhlenberg  Press,  1959),  p.  482.  On  the  Sacramentarians  or 
"sacramentaries,"  see  2:336. 16.n,  below. 

8  Regnans  in  Excebis,  25  February  1570,  in  Quellen  zur  Geschichte  des  Papsttums  und 
des  Romischen  Katholizismus,  4.  Auflage,  ed.  Carl  Mirbt  (Tubingen:  J.  C.  B.  Mohr, 
1924),  pp.  348-349;  for  an  English  trans.,  see  Thomas  Fuller,  The  Church  History  of 
Britain,  ed.  J.  S.  Brewer  (Oxford:  The  University  Press,  1845),  4:360-364. 


The  Elizabethan  Religious  Settlement 

The  essential  elements  of  the  religious  settlement  negotiated  at  the 
beginning  of  the  reign  of  Elizabeth  Tudor  (b.  1533;  reigned  1558- 
1603),  were  the  1559  Prayer  Book,  the  liturgy  within  which  English 
men  and  women  regularly  worshipped,  with  its  prescribed  lections 
from  the  vernacular  Bible;  the  Supremacy  Oath,  tendered  on  appro- 
priate solemnities  to  the  clergy,  which  assured  independence  from 
papal  authority  and  teachings;  and  the  Queen's  Injunctions,  which 
regulated  details  of  worship,  teaching,  and  administration  of  church 
affairs.  Four  years  later  the  clerical  convocation  produced  the  Thirty- 
nine  Articles  of  Religion,  which  in  1571  received  royal  assent  and 
were  clothed  with  enforcement  procedures  by  convocation  and 
parliament,  setting  doctrinal  boundaries  for  those  who  shouldered 
official  teaching  and  disciplinary  responsibilities  in  the  church. 
Except  for  the  few  modifications  in  the  vestiarian  requirements  for 
clerical  garb  promulgated  (with  the  queen's  tacit  approval)  by  bishops 
of  the  Ecclesiastical  Commission  in  1566,  these  constituted  the  Eliza- 
bethan settlement  of  religion. 

The  1559  Prayer  Book  was  edited  by  John  E.  Booty  in  1976:  The  Book  of 
Common  Prayer,  1559:  The  Elizabethan  Prayer  Book  (Charlottesville:  The  University  of 
Virginia  Press  for  the  Folger  Shakespeare  Library).  The  Uniformity  Act,  which 
authorized  the  Prayer  Book,  and  the  Supremacy  Act,  which  imposed  the  oath  are  in 
Statutes  of  the  Realm,  vol.  4  (London,  1819),  1  Eliz.  I,  cap.  1  and  2;  these  and  Eliza- 
beth's Injunctions  are  in  Henry  Gee  and  William  John  Hardy,  eds.,  Documents 
Illustrative  of  English  Church  History  (1910;  rpr.  New  York:  Kraus,  1966),  Nos.  78-80. 
For  the  Injunctions  (STC  10095—10110),  which  were  ordered  to  be  read  quarterly  in 
English  churches  and  were  reprinted  throughout  Elizabeth's  reign,  see  Walter  Howard 
Frere  and  William  McClure  Kennedy,  eds.,  Visitation  Articles  and  Injunctions  of  the 
Period  of  the  Reformation,  Alcuin  Club  Collections,  14-16  (London,  1910),  3:8-29. 

The  Articles  are  usually  printed  in  editions  of  the  English  Book  of  Common 
Prayer,  the  Latin  and  English  forms  of  1563  and  1571  are  included  in  Charles  Hard- 
wick,  A  History  of  the  Articles  of  Religion,  3rd  ed.  (London,  1895),  Appen.  3.2.  On 
their  passage  through  the  Convocation  of  Canterbury  and  the  assent  of  the  bishops  of 
the  Province  of  York,  see  Haugaard,  Elizabeth  and  the  English  Reformation,  pp.  62-64 
and  247-257. 

These  modifications,  dubbed  "Parker's  Advertisements,"  which  treated  many 
matters  besides  the  street  dress  and  vestments  of  the  clergy,  otherwise  enforced  rather 
than  modified  the  conditions  of  the  settlement.  See  Frere,  Visitation  Articles,  3:171- 
180;  Gee  and  Hardy,  Documents,  No.  81;  and  1:1 2.5-1  l.n,  below. 


The  Preface 

The  settlement  did  not  create  a  new  institution,  but  it  did  intro- 
duce teachings  emphasized  by  continental  Reformers,  and  it  modified 
other  important  aspects  of  the  life  of  a  church  that  had  existed  in 
Britain  for  more  than  a  thousand  years.  The  traditional  Catholic  form 
of  ordained  ministry  with  bishops,  priests,  and  deacons  was  retained, 
and  the  old  ecclesiastical  sub-divisions,  now  constituting  some  thirteen 
thousand  parishes,  twenty-six  dioceses,  and  two  provinces,  with  their 
officials,  courts,  patronage,  and  properties  continued  to  define  the  legal 
corporealization  of  the  national  church.  After  four  major  changes  in 
the  twenty-five  years  previous  to  Elizabeth's  accession,  these  stable 
standards  provided  the  prescribed  structures  within  which  religion  was 
to  be  practiced  in  the  Church  of  England  during  the  thirty-four  years 
of  Richard  Hooker's  schooling  and  ministry. 

The  elements  of  the  settlement,  variously  revised,  reflected  the 
reigns  of  Henry  and  Edward:  royal  supremacy  with  its  corollary, 
independence  from  Rome;  English  Bible;  Prayer  Book;  royal  Injunc- 
tions; a  traditional  episcopal  ministry  and  polity;  and,  subsequently, 
Articles  of  Religion.  Both  independence  from  Rome  and  a  vernacular 
Bible  were  policies  to  be  accepted  or  rejected  in  toto,  but  the  other 
key  elements  of  liturgy,  ministry,  and  doctrine  were  subject  to  diverse 
formulations.  Whatever  may  have  been  the  dynamics  between  queen 
and  parliament  in  the  tense  initial  months  of  her  reign,  the  settlement 
which  actually  emerged  contained  elements  that,  in  varying  degrees, 
both  pleased  and  dismayed  the  more  conservative  and  the  more 
militant  reformers  who  favored  the  break  with  Rome  and  return  of 
the  English  Bible. 

The  1559  Prayer  Book  was  essentially  that  of  1552,  with  a  few 
minor  but  significant  changes  in  the  direction  of  the  earlier  1549 
liturgy.  Elizabeth's  Injunctions  were  also  closer  to  the  terms  of  the 

See  Neale,  1:33—84;  "The  Elizabethan  Acts  of  Supremacy  and  Uniformity," 
English  Historical  Review,  65  (1950):  304-332;  and  Norman  L.  Jones,  Faith  by  Statute: 
Parliament  and  the  Settlement  of  Religion,  1559  (London:  Royal  Historical  Society, 
1982).  On  Elizabeth's  Parliaments  more  generally,  see  Neale's  two  volumes  and 
Geofirey  R.  Elton,  The  Parliament  of  England,  1559—1581  (Cambridge:  The  University 
Press,  1986);  Michael  A.  R.  Graves,  The  Tudor  Parliaments  (London:  Longman,  1985); 
and  P.  W.  Hasler,  ed.,  The  House  of  Commons,  1558—1603,  3  vols.  (London:  History 
of  Parliament  Trust,  HMSO,  1981). 


more  conservative  first  stage  of  Edwardian  reforms.  In  organization  the 
polity  of  the  church  was  unchanged,  except  for  the  more  prominent 
role  assigned  to  ecclesiastical  commissions  through  whom  the  queen 
might  exercise  her  supremacy.  In  the  Thirty-nine  Articles  the  bishops 
produced  a  doctrinal  norm  for  the  English  church  that  was  open  to 
interpretations  less  rigorously  Protestant  than  the  earlier  Forty-two 
Articles  had  allowed.  To  the  dismay  of  militant  reformers,  instead  of 
completing  the  reforms  of  the  last  years  of  Edward,  aborted  by  the 
accession  of  Mary  Tudor  in  1553,  the  settlement  stepped  back  slightly 
from  their  aggressively  reformed  stance. 

The  Settlement's  Adversaries 

From  the  first  years  of  the  reign,  the  settlement  was  subjected  to 
pressures  both  from  English  Roman  Catholics  who  sought  to  retrace 
the  steps  of  Mary  Tudor  and  from  English  advanced  Protestants  who 
sought  to  "complete"  the  reformation  of  the  Church  of  England. 

Foreign  Roman  Catholic  powers  and  local  regicides  hoped  to 
replace  both  settlement  and  queen  at  one  blow.  A  minority  of  English 
Roman  Catholics  might  emigrate  and/or  plot  against  their  queen,  but 
most  remained  quietly  in  England  wishing  only  to  practice  their 
religion  according  to  what  they  judged  to  be  the  true  faith.  They 
faced  increasingly  difficult  choices  after  Pius  V  excommunicated  and 
deposed  Elizabeth  in  1570.  Some  welcomed  fugitive  priests  for 
secret  masses  in  their  homes  while  they  paid  increasingly  steep  fines  as 
recusants,  while  others  attended  their  parish  churches,  making  personal 
accommodations  with  their  consciences.  The  campaign  to  maintain 

The  term  "advanced  Protestant"  may  eventually  win  its  way  as  a  replacement 
for  "Puritan,"  but  the  latter  is  too  firmly  established  in  generations  of  scholarly 
commentary  to  be  lightly  displaced.  For  discussions,  see  Basil  Hall,  "Puritanism:  The 
Problem  of  Definition,"  Studies  in  Church  History,  ed.  G.J.  Cuming,  (1965),  2:283- 
296;  Collinson,  E.P.M.,  pp.  24-28;  Dent,  Protestant  Reformers  in  Elizabethan  Oxford 
(1973),  pp.  2-3;  New,  Anglican  and  Puritan  (1964),  pp.  1—4;  Lake,  Moderate  Puritans 
(1982),  pp.  10-11  and  279-286,  and  Anglicans  and  Puritans?  (1988),  p.  7;  and  Borden 
W.  Painter,  "Anglican  Terminology  in  Recent  Tudor  and  Stuart  Historiography," 
Anglican  and  Episcopal  History,  56.3  (1987):  237-249. 

See  above,  n.  8. 


The  Preface 

and  to  extend  papal  loyalties,  launched  from  the  emigre  communities 
on  the  continent  and  increasingly  under  Jesuit  leadership,  coincided 
with  signs  of  Philip's  warlike  intentions  that  included  an  abortive 
landing  of  Spanish  troops  in  Ireland  in  1579  and  culminated  in  the 
campaign  of  the  Armada  ten  years  later.  As  loyal  as  most  Catholics  and 
even  a  number  of  the  missionary  priests  might  be  to  their  queen,  in 
the  perceptions  of  most  of  their  fellow  countrymen,  their  dual  loyal- 
ties rendered  them  suspect. 

Many  English  Protestants  assumed  that  their  religious  interests 
coincided  with  the  national  welfare.  Walter  Travers  (1548—1635), 
Richard  Hooker's  opponent  at  the  Temple  church,  attempted  to 
convict  Hooker  in  the  eyes  of  the  privy  council  by  the  accusation  that 
he  taught  that  Roman  Catholic  teaching  might  sometimes  lead  its 
adherents  to  salvation.  In  his  "Supplication"  Travers  judged  that,  in 
the  face  of  the  Catholic  threat  and  the  consequent  need  for  Protestant 
unity,  he  only  had  to  point  out  to  the  councillors  the  Catholic  impli- 
cations of  Hooker's  words,  such  as  had  "not  ben  heard  in  publick 
places,  with  in  this  land,  synce  Quene  Maries  daies"  (5:208.8—10). 
When  the  defeat  of  the  Armada  exploded  papal  hopes  that  a  foreign 
invasion  might  subdue  Protestant  England,  the  majority  of  people 
could  hardly  be  faulted  for  concluding  that  a  judicious  divine  provi- 
dence underlay  the  English  seamanship  and  the  fortuitous  winds  that 
had  won  the  victory. 

It  was  this  polarization  of  European  religious  politics  that  underlay 
the  religious  life  of  the  Elizabethan  church  in  which  Hooker  wrote 
and  his  contemporary  audience  read  the  Lawes.  Inevitably,  the  genuine 
religious  differences  with  Rome  bore  the  additional  weight  of  identity 
with  a  political  rival  and  enemy,  whereas  differences  with  those 
continental  "distinct  societies"  of  the  "Catholike  Church,"  who  had 
also  repudiated  Roman  authority,  carried  only  the  discredit  that 
English  chauvinism  might  engender.  "The  favorers  of  the  Church  of 
Rome"  Hooker  wrote,  "know  how  far  we  . . .  differ  and  dissent  from 
them"  (IV.12.5;  1:323.11-12).  Defending  the  traditional  character  of 

On  the  growth  of  the  Roman  Catholic  threat,  see  "The  Historical  Setting, 
1580-1585,"  5:619-629,  this  edn. 



Prayer  Book  liturgy,  he  preferred  to  follow  "the  perfections  of  [Ro- 
man Catholics]  whome  we  like  not,  then  in  defectes  resemble  [Protes- 
tants] whome  we  love"  (V.28.1;  2: 121. 26-28). 16  The  distinctive 
character  of  the  English  church  and  of  Hooker's  understanding  of  it 
developed  in  the  context  of  Roman  Catholic  attempts  to  return  it  to 
the  papal  fold. 

Many  reformers  at  the  beginning  of  the  reign  understood  the  initial 
decisions  about  religion  not  as  a  firm  "settlement"  but  as  a  way  station 
towards  more  adequate  reform.  Although  interpreters  have  widely 
ranging  opinions  about  Queen  Elizabeth's  motivations  in  religious 
matters,  few  would  deny  that  it  was  her  tenacity  that  lay  behind  the 
firmness  with  which  the  1559  standards  were  maintained.  In  the 
words  of  Francis  Bacon  (1561-1626):  "Within  the  compass  of  one 
year  she  did  so  establish  and  settle  all  matters  belonging  to  the  church, 
as  she  departed  not  one  hair's  breadth  from  them  to  the  end  of  her 

When  the  terms  of  the  settlement  were  laid  down,  most  clergy  and 
laity  who  accepted  the  break  with  Rome  were  prepared  to  obey.  Yet 
on  hearing  of  parliament's  action  establishing  the  Prayer  Book,  Edwin 
Sandys  the  elder  (1516?-1588),  future  archbishop  of  York  and  father 
of  Richard  Hooker's  student  and  patron,  wrote  to  Matthew  Parker 
(1504-1575),  soon  to  be  archbishop  of  Canterbury,  concerning  the 
rubric  for  traditional  vestments,  that  "our  gloss  upon  this  text  is,  that 
we  shall  not  be  forced  to  use  them."  By  1566,  the  vestiarian  con- 
troversy had  made  the  royal  will  in  this  matter  abundantly  clear. 

On  Hooker's  anti-Romanism,  see  Richard  Bauckham,  "Hooker,  Travers  and 
the  Church  of  Rome  in  the  1580s,"  Journal  of  Ecclesiastical  History,  29  A  (1978):  37-50. 

The  more  common  historical  judgment  has  labelled  Elizabeth  a  politique  who 
employed  religion  as  a  tool  in  the  interest  of  her  political  objectives.  For  another 
view,  see  Haugaard,  Elizabeth  and  the  English  Reformation,  and  "Elizabeth  Tudor's  Book 
of  Devotions:  A  Neglected  Clue  to  the  Queen's  Life  and  Character,"  Sixteenth  Century 
Journal,  12.2  (1981):  79-105. 

The  Works  of  Francis  Bacon,  Lord  Chancellor  of  England,  ed.  Basil  Montague 
(London,  1825—34),  3:477.  For  the  original  Latin,  see  The  Works  of  Francis  Bacon,  ed. 
James  Spedding,  Robert  Leslie  Ellis,  and  Douglas  Denon  Heath  (London,  1879-90), 

19  30  April  1559;  Correspondence  of  Matthew  Parker,  PS  (1853),  p.  65. 


The  Preface 

Lawrence  Humphrey  (1527?— 1590),  a  dominant  figure  in  academic 
and  ecclesiastical  politics  during  Hooker's  years  at  Oxford,  just  missed 
being  deprived  as  head  of  Magdalen  College  for  his  refusal  to  wear  the 
surplice;  his  counterpart  at  Christ  Church,  Thomas  Sampson  (1517?— 
1589),  was  ejected  from  his  deanship.  The  two  Marian  exiles  ex- 
pressed the  painful  response  of  many  of  their  former  companions 
wl\en  they  indignantly  protested  to  Henry  Bullinger  (1504—1575)  of 
Zurich  against  his  advice  to  conform:  "We  must  indeed  submit  to  the 
time,  but  only^br  a  time;  so  that  we  may  always  be  making  progress 
and  never  retreating. . . .  Why  should  we  receive  Christ  rather 
maimed,  than  entire,  and  pure,  and  perfect?" 

Another  Marian  exile,  William  Cole  (d.  1600),  president  of  Hook- 
er's own  Corpus  Christi  College  for  thirty  years,  included  his  assess- 
ment of  religion  in  England  in  a  letter  to  one  of  Bullinger's  fellow 
ministers  in  Zurich  in  1579,  the  year  Hooker  was  ordained  deacon: 
"If  you  wish  to  know  what  is  the  state  of  religion  throughout  all 
England,  it  is  precisely  the  same  as  it  has  been  from  the  beginning  of 
the  reign  of  our  most  gracious  queen  Elizabeth.  There  is  no  change 

Cole's  understated  commentary  reflected  a  wide  range  of  Puritan 
frustrations.  Militant  attempts  to  achieve  reforms  in  convocation  and 
parliament  had  failed.  Archbishop  Parker  had  successfully  established 
the  hated  vestiarian  requirements  as  the  official  norm.  The  forthright 
demand  of  the  1572  Admonitioners  for  a  presbyterian  ministry  mod- 
eled on  that  of  Geneva  had  angered  the  queen  and  alienated  some 
Puritan  sympathizers.  Elizabeth  had  dashed  the  hopes  with  which  most 
reformers  had  greeted  the  nomination  in  1 576  of  Edmund  Grindal 
(1519?-1583)  to  Canterbury  by  suspending  him  the  following  year. 

When  Cole  wrote  in  1579,  he  could  not  have  known  that  Grindal's 
death  in  1583  would  occasion  a  further  setback.  Instead  of  a  cleric 
sympathetic  to  advanced  Protestant  concerns,  Elizabeth  named  Whit- 
gift,  whose  reputation  for  conformity  rested  administratively  on  his 
opposition  at  Cambridge  to  Thomas  Cartwright  (1535-1604)  and 

20  July  1566,  The  Zurich  Letters,  PS  (Cambridge,  1842-45),  1:161,  162. 

21  28  February  1579,  to  [Rudolph  Gualter,  Sr.],  The  Zurich  Letters,  2:308. 



literarily  upon  his  Answere  to  the  Admonition  to  Parliament  and  his 
Defense  of  the  Aunswere  in  response  to  Cartwright's  Replye.  Cart- 
wright  and  Travers  were  the  foremost  theologians  promoting  the 
presbyterian  cause,  the  "head"  and  the  "neck"  respectively,  as  Fuller 
described  them,  and  Whitgift,  having  launched  a  renewed  cam- 
paign for  clerical  conformity,  silenced  Travers's  well  publicized  ex- 
changes with  Hooker  in  the  Temple  church. 

The  reformers'  frustration  with  their  inability  to  bend  the  settle- 
ment to  their  will  from  within  must  not  obscure  their  significant 
successes  in  the  universities  and  in  many  parishes  where  they  won  the 
allegiance  of  a  significant  portion  of  religiously  dedicated  clerics, 
theological  students,  and  lay  persons  in  the  church.  Historians,  how- 
ever, occasionally  write  as  if  only  Roman  Catholics  and  Puritans  took 
religion  seriously  in  Elizabethan  England.  We  need  not  be  seduced  by 
the  polemics  of  sixteenth-century  opponents  of  the  establishment  into 
judging  that  lukewarm  devotion  or  sheer  vocational  opportunism 
inevitably  characterized  its  supporters.  In  societies  in  which  religion  is 
established,  dissenting  groups  typically  claim  a  higher  proportion  of 
devoted  adherents  among  their  limited  constituency  than  can  those 
conforming  to  the  establishment.  The  anti-establishment  campaign  left 
a  large  body  of  documentary  evidence  of  commitment  and  fervor,  the 
uncritical  reading  of  which  has  sometimes  led  historians  to  take  the 
indictment  of  the  establishment  and  its  adherents  at  face  value. 

In  preparation  for  a  radical  program  to  be  introduced  into  the 
House  of  Commons  in  1587,  Puritans  drafted  a  "Supplication  to  the 
Parliament"  in  which  they  noted  the  "long  time  of  patient  endurance 
of  all  our  griefs."  They  sought  "some  convenient  remedie,"  clarifying 
for  the  legislators 

how  by  meanes  of  the  imperfections  and  intollerable  abuses  of 
the  present  lawes  of  the  Church,  not  consonant  in  many  things 
to  the  lawes  of  Allmightie  God,  the  people  of  God  within  this 
land  and  hir  majesties  most  faithfull  and  loving  subjects  are 

22  See  n.  152,  pp.  71-72,  below. 

23  Church  History  (1845),  4:468. 


The  Preface 

famished  in  most  places,  for  the  want  of  the  sound  and  syncere 
preaching  of  the  Word  of  God. 

Puritans  firmly  believed  that  their  programs  would  bring  the  English 
people  closer  to  that  pattern  of  a  godly  society  that  many  had  envis- 
aged at  the  time  of  the  seemingly  miraculous  accession  of  Elizabeth  to 
the  throne.  In  opposition  to  the  call  to  arms  of  advanced  Protestants, 
defenders  of  the  establishment,  as  they  lived  within  the  terms  of  the 
religious  settlement,  forged  a  Christian  tradition  that  that  was  to  prove 
distinct  from  those  of  Roman  Catholic,  Lutheran,  and  Reformed 
persuasions.  Among  those  defenders,  Richard  Hooker  was  to  be  the 
most  persuasive  and,  through  succeeding  years,  the  most  influential. 

The  Character  of  the  Militant  Challenge 

The  problems  of  the  definition  of  "Puritan"  are  legion,  but  the 
term  may  justly  include  a  wide  range  of  clergy  and  laity  adhering 
firmly  to  Protestant  principles  of  scriptural  authority  and  of  justifica- 
tion by  faith  who  also  pressed  for  changes  in  the  settlement  that 
would,  in  effect,  bring  the  standards  of  the  Church  of  England  sub- 
stantially closer  to  those  of  continental  Reformed  bodies.  This 
definition  encompasses  a  wide  spectrum:  laity  and  clerics  who  con- 
formed but  actively  supported  certain  reforms  as  highly  desirable; 
those  who  scrupled  from  ceremonial  or  vestiarian  requirements  but 
supported  an  episcopal  ministry;  clergy  and  laity  who  with  the  Ad- 
monitioners  sought  a  Genevan-like  discipline;  and  even  separatists, 
repudiated  by  the  rest,  whose  frustrations  with  the  establishment  led 
them  into  schism.  These  groupings  blended  into  one  another,  and 
individual  Puritans  moved  from  time  to  time  from  one  sector  of  the 
spectrum  to  another. 

Apart  from  their  internal  dissensions,  a  wide  spectrum  of  Puritans 
shared  a  sense  with  one  another  that  they  were  "Gods  owne,"  recog- 

24  No.  204  in  Albert  Peel,  ed.,  The  Seconde  Parte  of  a  Register  (1915),  2:71  and  73; 
see  Neale,  2:146,  and  Collinson,  E.P.M.,  p.  304. 
See  above,  n.  13. 



nizing  a  "separation  betweene  such  and  the  rest  of  the  world,  whereby  [they] 
are  named  The  brethren,  The godlie"  (Pref.  3.11;  1:18.13-16).  Preaching, 
the  ministry  of  the  word,  they  would  agree,  was  the  most  essential 
work  of  a  Christian  church.  The  presence  of  preaching  ministers 
within  the  national  church  validated  the  decision  of  all  but  a  tiny 
minority  to  remain  while  pressing  for  change.  Earnestness,  commit- 
ment, and  sincerity  characterized  their  religion,  and,  taken  as  a  whole, 
they  no  more  merited  the  frequently  associated  epithet  of  "hypocrite" 
than  other  groups  dedicated  to  the  serious  practice  of  their  religious 
principles.  They  courted  the  opprobium,  however,  by  indiscriminately 
designating  establishment  opponents  as  "worldlings,  timeservers,  pleasers 
of  men  not  of  God"  (1:18.16-17). 

Throughout  Elizabeth's  reign  Puritans  played  prominent  roles  at 
both  Cambridge  and  Oxford,  which,  with  their  clerical  administrative 
and  professorial  staffs,  constituted  the  institutions  of  higher  theological 
learning  in  the  Church  of  England.  Of  the  two,  Cambridge,  as  in 
Henrician  and  Edwardian  years,  contributed  a  larger  proportion  of 
reforming  leaders  from  among  its  teachers  and  graduates.  The  privy 
councillor  Walter  Mildmay  (1520?-1589)  founded  Emmanuel  in  1584 
with  the  "one  aim  . . .  that  from  this  seminary  the  Church  of  England 
might  have  men  ...  to  instruct  the  people  and  undertake  the  duty  of 
pastors."26  Its  first  Master,  Laurence  Chaderton  (1536?-1640),  served 
until  1622.  Although  circumspect  in  his  opposition  to  the  settlement, 
Chaderton  contributed  his  theological  learning  to  the  presbyterian 
movement  and  nurtured  generations  of  clerical  alumni.  Among  the 
older  houses,  reformist  influence  was  most  heavily  concentrated  in  St. 
John's  and  Christ's  colleges,  but  every  one  of  the  Cambridge  colleges 
could  claim  distinguished  Puritan  alumni. 

At  Oxford,  Sampson's  leadership  of  Christ  Church  in  the  sixties  and 
Humphrey's  at  Magdalen  and  Cole's  at  Corpus  Christi  for  most  of  the 

26  From  chap.  21  of  the  Statutes  of  Emmanuel,  prepared  by  Mildmay;  see  H.  C. 
Porter,  ed.,  Puritanism  in  Tudor  England  (London:  Macmillan,  1970),  p.  186.  Porter's 
Reformation  and  Reaction  in  Tudor  Cambridge  (1958;  rpr.  Hamden,  Conn.:  Archon  Press, 
1972)  focuses  on  the  religious  issues  in  the  university  from  the  early  sixteenth  through 
the  first  decades  of  the  seventeenth  centuries.  Lake's  Moderate  Puritans  begins  with 
Elizabeth;  see  esp.  pp.  40—46  and  169—200. 


The  Preface 

reign  developed  many  advocates  of  advanced  protestantism.  Before  the 
century  was  out,  Brasenose,  Queen's,  and  Exeter  came  to  stand  out  as 
seminaries  for  "godly"  parsons.  The  prescribed  books  for  catechetical 
use  in  the  1 579  revised  heresy  statutes  at  Oxford  included,  along  with 
English  works,  authors  drawn  exclusively  from  continental  Reformed 
churches.  The  most  prominent  university  theologians  included 
three  advanced  Protestants  who  took  moderate  stands  on  episcopal 
polity:  William  Whitaker  (1548-1595)  and  William  Perkins  (1558- 
1602)  at  Cambridge  and  John  Rainolds  (1549-1607)  at  Oxford. 
Rainolds  was  a  slightly  older  companion  of  Hooker  at  Corpus  Christi 
College,  with  whom  he  shared  a  brief  period  of  expulsion  from  the 
college  (see  below,  p.  53).  A  complex  web  linked  sixteenth-century 
Oxford  and  Cambridge  with  the  life  and  government  of  church  and 
state  throughout  England,  and  the  political  and  theological  dimensions 
of  academic  controversies  touched  on  issues  raised  by  the  terms  of  the 
religious  settlement. 

Puritans  were  not  only  successful  in  winning  devoted  adherents  in 
parish  and  university;  the  movement,  even  divided  as  it  was,  proved 
immensely  potent  politically.  Their  influential  supporters  included  a 
small  but  significant  number  of  the  nobility,  tending  to  the  conserva- 
tive end  of  the  spectrum,  among  them  the  earls  of  Leicester,  Robert 
Dudley  (1532?-1588),  of  Warwick,  Ambrose  Dudley  (1528P-1590),  of 
Bedford,  Francis  Russell  (1527?-1585),  and  of  Huntingdon,  Henry 
Hastings  (1535—1595).  These  were  joined  by  reform-minded  council- 
lors drawn  from  the  gentry.  Mildmay  and  Francis  Walsingham  (1530?— 
1590),  the  latter  with  an  able  cadre  of  administrators  and  diplomats, 
stood  out  among  these  both  for  their  administrative  abilities  and  their 

S.  L.  Greenslade,  "The  Faculty  of  Theology,"  chap.  4.4,  and  Jennifer  Loach, 
"Reformation  Controversies,"  chap.  5  in  James  McConica,  ed.,  The  History  of  the 
University  of  Oxford,  vol.  3,  The  Collegiate  University  (Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1986), 
pp.  327  and  388-389.  These  essays  and  those  by  G.  D.  Duncan  and  Penry  Williams 
(chaps.  4.5  and  6),  together  with  Dent's  Protestant  Reformers,  provide  a  comprehensive 
survey  of  the  religious  scene  at  Oxford.  The  books  include  the  catechisms  of  Geneva 
(Calvin),  Zurich  (Bullinger),  and  Heidelberg,  Andreas  Hyperius's  commentary  on  the 
latter,  and  three  English  works:  Nowell's  Catechism,  based  largely  on  Calvin,  Jewel's 
Apology,  and  the  Thirty-nine  Articles  with  explanations. 



devotion  to  the  reforming  cause.  Even  though  the  commitment  of 
Cecil  to  the  Puritan  cause  was  more  ambiguous,  throughout  the  reign 
he  often  stood  with  the  reformers  in  urging  the  queen  to  relax  her 
commitment  to  the  original  terms  of  the  settlement.  When  Whitgift 
campaigned  for  clerical  conformity,  local  officials  and  regionally 
influential  gentry  from  areas  of  Puritan  strength  petitioned  in  support 
of  clergy  threatened  with  deprivation  from  their  pastoral  posts,  and  the 
entire  privy  council,  with  the  exception  of  Christopher  Hatton  (1540— 
1591),  called  on  Whitgift  to  abate  the  campaign.  Because  he  knew 
that  Elizabeth  stood  behind  his  policies,  the  archbishop  persevered 
against  the  Puritan  political  phalanx. 

When  the  militant  reformers  failed  to  gain  their  objectives  in  the 
1563  Convocations,  they  turned  to  parliament.  Puritan  measures, 
ranging  from  mild  modifications  of  the  enforcement  of  the  settlement 
to  full-scale  programs  for  a  presbyterian  ministry  and  a  Genevan 
liturgy,  were  repeatedly  proposed  in  the  House  of  Commons  where 
they  received  formidable  support  from  many  gentry.  Privy  councillors 
often  sympathized  with  this  legislation,  linked  as  they  were  with  the 
parliamentary  "men  of  business"  who  managed  legislative  procedures 
and  included  a  number,  such  as  James  Morice  (1539—1597)  and 
Thomas  Norton  (1532—1584),  with  deep  commitments  to  the  reform- 
ers' cause.  Some  of  these  initiatives  might  well  have  made  their 
way  successfully  through  the  legislative  process,  had  Elizabeth  not 
repeatedly  forbidden  their  consideration  for  touching  matters  that 
trespassed  on  her  royal  prerogative.  With  some  limits,  she  recognized 
the  right  of  free  speech  in  Commons,  as  well  as  the  right  of  the 

Collinson  has  carefully  documented  the  extent  of  gentry  support  for  the 
beleaguered  ministers  (E.P.M.,  Parts  5—8). 

On  Morice,  see  pp.  28-29,  below;  on  Norton,  see  Michael  A.  R.  Graves, 
"Thomas  Norton  the  Parliament  Man:  An  Elizabethan  M.P.,  1559—1581,"  The 
Historical  Journal,  23.1  (1980):  17-35.  Norton  translated  reformed  literature,  including 
Calvin's  Institutes  (STC  4415)  and  Alexander  Nowell's  Latin  Catechism  (STC  18701); 
see  Haugaard,  "John  Calvin  and  the  Catechism  of  Alexander  Nowell,"  Archiv  fur 
Reformationsgeschichte,  61.1  (1970):  50-66.  Neale's  two  volumes  document  the  story  of 
Puritan  initiatives,  but  his  picture  of  an  organized  single-minded  Puritan  opposition  in 
Commons  requires  serious  modification;  see  Elton,  Parliament,  1559-1581,  Graves, 
Parliaments,  and  Jones,  Faith  by  Statute. 


The  Preface 

legislators  to  modify  and  to  approve  or  to  disapprove  of  legislation 
proposed  in  response  to  government  initiatives.  But  when  more  radi- 
cal members  attempted  to  initiate  legislation  on  governmental  and 
social  issues  with  religious  implications,  the  proposals  challenged  the 
queen's  understanding  of  the  constitutional  balance  of  king-in-parlia- 
ment,  and  she  refused  to  countenance  them. 

The  reforming  cause  had  an  important  alliance  with  common 
lawyers  seeking  to  reduce  the  jurisdiction  of  the  ecclesiastical  and  royal 
prerogative  courts.  The  terms  of  the  settlement  were  enforced  in  the 
traditional  church  courts,  in  the  royal  ecclesiastical  commissions,  and, 
on  occasion,  by  privy  councillors  in  the  Star  Chamber.  Common 
lawyers  coveted  this  extensive  legal  territory,  and  they  opposed  the 
civil  law  procedures  that  prevailed  in  courts  of  canon  law.  The  oath 
ex  officio  mero  required  witnesses  to  testify  against  themselves:  as  Morice 
complained  in  the  1593  Commons,  "wee  are  constrayned  to  be  both 
Accusers  and  Condemners  of  our  selfs,"  and  those  who  refuse  to 
answer  the  court  interrogatories  are  "comytted  to  hard  and  miserable 
imprisonment."  The  oath  became  the  common  lawyers'  symbol  of 
the  unjust  procedures  of  the  canonical  and  civil  courts.  Such  law- 
yers were  well  represented  in  parliament. 

Although  the  reformers  were  not  able  to  replace  the  standards  of 
the  settlement  with  norms  based  on  their  own  religious  principles, 
they  implemented  bits  and  pieces,  here  and  there,  as  opportunity 
permitted.  Nonconformity  in  clerical  dress  and  vestments  and  the 
omission  of  prescribed  Prayer  Book  ceremonies  were  common.  When 
authorities  pressed  for  obedience  to  established  law  in  such  matters, 
the  reformers  debated  among  themselves  the  degrees  of  compliance 
that  their  conscientious  understandings  of  scriptural  prescriptions  might 
allow.  Liturgies  other  than  those  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer 
were  seldom  used,  but  reform-minded  ministers  might  eliminate 
portions  they  judged  objectionable  or  superfluous  to  ensure  that  a 
larger  proportion  of  the  service  might  be  dedicated  to  the  preaching, 

"A  Remembrance  of  certaine  matters  concerninge  the  Clergye  and  theire 
Jurisdiction:  Anno  Domini  1593,"  pp.  106-107;  Cambridge  University  Library,  MS. 
mm.  1.51,  pp.  105-133;  see  also  Cal.  MSS,  Hatfield  House,  4:291. 
31  On  English  law,  see  1:41. 1-1 4.y.n,  below. 



which  even  the  conforming  Archbishop  Grindal  termed  the  "ordinary 
mean  and  instrument  of  the  salvation  of  mankind." 

Family  chaplaincies  and  town  or  parish  lectureships,  either  endowed 
or  supported  by  subscription,  provided  posts  in  which  advanced 
Protestants  might  dedicate  their  energies  to  the  promotion  of  godliness 
and  reform  as  they  understood  them.  In  sympathetic  parishes  church- 
wardens and  sidesmen  (their  assistants)  could  be  regarded  as  the  ruling 
elders  and  deacons  of  reformed  discipline.  By  declaring  days  of  fasting, 
Puritan  clergy  deepened  the  piety  of  reform-minded  laity;  where  town 
officials  were  sympathetic,  such  days  could  be  sanctioned  by  the  local 
government.  The  exercises  or  prophesyings  provided  opportunity  for 
clergy  to  come  together  for  scriptural  study,  sometimes  with  public 
sermons  and  discussions  that  included  laity;  to  the  extent  that  the 
exercises  were  dominated  by  reformers,  they  served  as  means  of 
forwarding  Puritan  goals. 

Zealots  went  further.  Many  establishment  supporters,  as  well  as 
Puritans,  were  dismayed  when  Elizabeth  suspended  and  overruled 
Archbishop  Grindal  for  refusing  to  obey  her  order  to  suppress  the 
exercises,  viewed  by  many  as  an  effective  means  of  what  might  be 
termed  today  continuing  clerical  education.  The  queen  acted  on  advice 
that  saw  the  exercises  as  "embryonic  presbyteries"  or  "classes"  by  which 
the  reformers  sought  to  replace  the  traditional  episcopal  government  of 
the  church  with  the  disciplinary  structures  of  Geneva.  By  the  begin- 
ning of  the  last  decade  of  the  century,  authorities  had  gained  firm 
evidence  of  a  network  of  secret  regional  "conferences"  related  to  one 
another  through  the  London  group  and  its  organizing  genius  John  Field 
(1545-1588),  one  of  the  authors  of  the  Admonition.     On  occasion  local 

32  From  Edmund  Grindal's  December  1576  letter  to  Elizabeth  refusing  to  obey 
her  order  to  suppress  the  "exercises"  and  to  limit  preaching  licenses;  see  The  Remains 
of  Edmund  Grindal,  PS  (1843),  pp.  376-390. 

33  See  Collinson,  E.P.M.,  Parts  2.2,  2.5,  and  7. 

Cartwright's  biographer  so  labels  them,  noting  that  they  are  "of  the  modern 
type,"  i.e.,  without  coercive  powers;  see  A.  F.  S.  Pearson,  Thomas  Cartwright  and 
Elizabethan  Presbyterianism  (Cambridge,  1925),  p.  157. 

Richard  Bancroft  published  the  results  of  the  investigations,  as  seen  through  the 
eyes  of  ecclesiastical  authority,  in  two  books  published  in  the  same  year  as  the  first 
part  of  Hooker's  Lawes:  A  Survay  of  the  Pretended  Holy  Discipline  (1593;  STC  1352), 


The  Preface 

conferences  sought  ways  to  legitimize  their  members'  clerical  posts 
that  the  law  had  forced  them  to  accept  via  "unscriptural"  ordinations 
by  bishops  and  deployment  by  patronage.  But  without  any  coercive 
means  at  hand,  the  attempts  of  a  classis  to  exercise  discipline  over  its 
members  depended  entirely  upon  an  individual's  willingness  to  accept 
group  decisions. 

In  the  early  eighties  representatives  from  the  local  classes  attended 
regional  or  national  conferences  intended  to  determine  and  coordinate 
presbyterian  strategy  throughout  the  country.  Imaginative  Puritans 
and,  later,  scandalized  church  authorities  might  regard  these  as  "em- 
bryo national  assemblies,"  but  the  fragile  structures  of  the  network 
hardly  merited  such  a  dignified  title.  At  the  times  of  the  three 
Parliaments  of  the  decade  (1584/5,  1586/7  and  1589),  national  groups 
gathered  in  London  to  further  their  strategies  for  reform  legislation.  A 
"Book  of  Discipline"  was  prepared  in  London,  with  directions  for  the 
worship,  discipline,  and  government  of  a  national  church  patterned 
after  that  of  the  French  and  Scottish  Reformed.  Distributed  to 
classes  about  the  country  for  discussion  and  possible  subscription,  the 
book  whetted  reformers'  appetites  for  its  implementation.  Before  the 
decade  was  out,  the  more  eager  were  considering  ways  they  might  put 
the  program  into  immediate  practice.  Extrapolating  their  experience 

and  Daungerous  Positions  and  proceedings,  published  and  practised  within  this  Hand  of 
Brytaine,  under  the  pretense  of  reformation,  and  for  the  presbiteriall  discipline  (STC  1344),  the 
latter  printed  by  John  Windet  (as  was  the  Lawes).  The  documents  seized  by  authorities 
are  in  the  Public  Record  Office,  and  they  are  corroborated  by  others;  see  R.  G. 
Usher,  The  Presbyterian  Movement  in  the  Reign  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  as  Illustrated  by  the 
Minute  Book  of  the  Dedham  Classis,  1582-1589,  Camden  Society,  3.8  (1905),  and  those 
in  Dr.  Williams's  Library,  London,  calendared  by  Peel  in  The  Seconde  Parte  of  a 
Register.  Collinson's  E.P.M.  draws  on  both.  See  below,  pp.  24  and  30-32,  and 
1:50.28-3  l.n. 

36  Neale,  2:60. 

"The  Book  of  Discipline,"  extant  in  various  MSS,  was  printed  for  the  1645 
Westminster  Assembly  as  A  directory  of  church-government.  Anciently  contended  for,  and  as 
fane  as  the  times  would  suffer,  practised  by  the  first  non-conformists  in  the  dales  of  Queen 
Elizabeth.  Found  in  the  study  of .  .  .  Thomas  Cartwright,  after  his  decease,  Wing  T  2066. 
Travers  initially  drafted  it  in  1585  with  input  from  Cartwright  and  Field  (Collinson, 
E.P.M.,  pp.  293-296). 



with  local  unauthorized  modifications  in  the  religious  settlement,  some 
began  to  envision,  in  essence,  a  takeover  from  below,  a  "presbytery  in 
episcopacy"  in  which  what  they  judged  to  be  scriptural  order  might 


prevail  in  the  English  church. 

if.  The  Nation  and  the  Church  in  1593 

Setting  the  Scene  for  the  1590s 

Four  events  in  the  late  1580s  set  the  scene  for  the  political  and 
religious  issues  of  the  final  decade  of  the  century:  the  Armada,  the 
Marprelate  tracts,  an  increasingly  aggressive  defense  of  episcopacy,  and 
the  resurgence  of  separatism. 

First,  the  reinvigorated  Roman  Catholicism  of  the  Counter  Refor- 
mation, with  its  renewed  moral  authority  and  political  commitment, 
was  able  in  the  last  four  decades  of  the  century  to  stop  and,  in  some 
cases,  to  reverse  the  gains  of  the  continental  Reformation.  The  two 
most  powerful  nations,  Spain  and  France,  were  both — with  different 
and  varying  degrees  of  intensity — committed  to  the  Roman  Catholic 
cause.  Although  less  of  a  military  power  than  these  two,  England 
headed  the  list  of  Protestant  powers  considered  individually,  and  the 
return  of  England  to  anti-papal  ranks  in  1558  significantly  enhanced 
the  fortunes  of  her  continental  brethren. 

The  Catholic  powers  recognized  the  importance  of  the  recapture  of 
England.  After  Elizabeth  had  unequivocally  declared  for  independence, 
common  wisdom  proposed  that  her  replacement  by  a  Roman  Catholic 
sovereign  would  be  the  most  effective  means  to  return  the  nation  to 
papal  obedience.  Mary  Stuart  (1542-1587)  had  the  best  claim  to  succeed 
a  childless  Elizabeth.  Until  her  execution  in  1587,  she  was  perceived, 
as  Philip  II  (1517-1598)  of  Spain  put  it,  as  "the  gate  by  which  reli- 
gion must  enter  the  realm  of  England."     European  courts  did  not, 

Fuller  described  the  plan  as  "the  embryo  of  the  presbyterian  discipline,  lying  as 
yet,  as  it  were,  in  the  womb  of  episcopacy,"  a  design  "to  set  up  a  discipline  in  a 
discipline,  presbytery  in  episcopacy";  Church  History  (1845),  5:5  and  7. 

Philip  to  Cardinal  Pacecco,  October  1565,  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  relating  to 
English  Affairs,  preserved  principally  at  Rome  (1916),  1:182. 


The  Preface 

by  and  large,  initiate  the  repeated  fanatical  attempts  to  assassinate 
Elizabeth,  but  they  did  encourage  home-grown  rebellions  and  hinted 
at  support  by  foreign  invasion.  By  the  mid-eighties  Philip  successfully 
gained  French  acquiescence  in  his  "great  enterprise"  to  reclaim  Eng- 
land. National  political  and  religious  goals  coalesced — as  they  had  a 
hundred  years  earlier  when  the  Spanish  kingdoms  had  expelled  the  last 
Moslem  rulers  from  the  Iberian  peninsula.  On  the  day  the  Armada  set 
sail,  every  soldier  and  seaman  gathered  in  Lisbon  harbor  in  1588,  from 
admiral  to  cabin  boy,  was  shriven,  communicated  with  the  Blessed 
Sacrament,  and  given  a  papal  plenary  indulgence. 

Even  though  English  men  and  women  joyfully  celebrated  the  defeat 
of  the  Spanish  fleet,  most  did  not  appreciate  its  long-range  signifi- 
cance. In  his  opening  oration  to  the  1589  Parliament  in  the  queen's 
name,  Lord  Keeper  Christopher  Hatton  reviewed  Roman  Catholic 
aggression  against  England,  which  had  culminated  when  "the  unchris- 
tian fury,  both  of  the  Pope  (that  wolfish  bloodsucker)  and  of  the 
Spaniard  (that  insatiable  tyrant)"  burst  upon  England  "like  thunder. 
God  be  thanked,  he  feared  more  than  hurt  us."  Hatton  reflected  the 
wisdom  of  the  day  in  judging  the  victory  to  have  been  that  of  a 
battle,  not  of  the  war.  He  urged  Parliament  to  provide  resources  for 
the  continued  defense  of  the  land:  "We  have  lopped  off  some  of  [the 
enemy's]  boughs;  but  they  will  sooner  grow  again  than  we  think 
of."  Later,  the  defeat  of  the  Armada  would  be  recognized  as  a 
decisive  turning  point,  but  as  the  last  decade  of  the  century  opened, 
the  Roman  Catholic  powers  remained  an  overwhelming  threat  in  the 
minds  of  English  Protestants. 

Second,  between  October  1588  and  September  1589,  seven  inflam- 
matory writings  of  one  "Martin  Marprelate"  and  his  associates  ap- 
peared in  support  of  those  reformers  who  would  replace  episcopacy 
with  a  presbyterian  ministry  and  discipline.  The  pamphlets  changed 
the  style,  but  not  the  substance,  of  the  debate.  Invective  was  typical 
enough  of  theological  polemic  of  the  age,  but  the  pseudonymous 
writings  brought  a  new  weapon  to  the  battle:  memorably  vigorous 
satire.  The  literate  public  at  large,  not  just  clergy  or  dedicated  Puritans, 

Neale,  2:197  and  200,  from  Lambeth  Palace  MS.  178,  fols.  75-81. 



read  the  pamphlets  for  literary  entertainment.  Bishops  and  the  laws  of 
the  land  were  held  up  to  public  ridicule — not  a  reassuring  prospect  in 
the  eyes  of  a  queen  and  hierarchy  for  whom  the  censorship  of  writ- 
ings inimical  to  ordered  society  was  a  self-evident  responsibility  of 
good  government. 

The  fruitless  search  for  the  authors  and  for  the  less  elusive  printing 
presses  led  in  the  fall  of  1589  to  the  discovery  of  correspondence  and 
other  papers  relating  to  the  secret  disciplinarian  network  that  the 
recently  deceased  Field  had  established  among  scattered  centers  of 
Puritan  strength  throughout  England.  The  evidence  enabled  the 
members  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Commission  to  begin  legal  interrogation 
and  arrest  of  the  participants.  In  the  midst  of  the  excitement  gener- 
ated by  the  tracts  Hatton  told  the  members  of  the  1589  Parliament 
that  Elizabeth  had  never  "looked  for  any  better"  than  she  had  re- 
ceived from  England's  enemies,  but  that  she  grieved  that 

amongst  her  friends  . . .  men  of  a  very  intemperate  humour  do 
greatly  deprave  the  present  estate  and  reformation  of  religion  . . . 
whereby  her  loving  subjects  are  greatly  disquieted,  her  enemies 
are  encouraged,  religion  is  slandered,  piety  is  hindered,  schisms 
are  maintained,  and  the  peace  of  the  Church  is  altogether  rent  in 
sunder  and  violated. 

The  later  ecclesiastical  ban  in  1599  of  all  satires — not  just  those  that  pilloried 
the  bishops — may  have  had  its  origins  in  "Martin's"  earlier  abuse.  See  The  Renaissance 
in  England,  ed.  Hyder  E.  Rollins  and  Herschel  Baker  (Boston:  D.  C.  Heath,  1954),  p. 

For  details  of  the  publications,  subsequent  examinations,  and  the  thorny 
question  of  authorship,  see  E.  Arber,  An  Introductory  Sketch  to  the  Martin  Marprelate 
Controversy  (London,  1879);  William  Pierce,  An  Historical  Introduction  to  the  Marprelate 
Tracts  (London,  1903),  and  John  Penry,  His  Life,  Times  and  Writings  (London,  1923);  D. 
J.  McGinn,  John  Penry  and  the  Marprelate  Controversy  (New  Brunswick:  Rutgers 
University  Press,  1966);  and,  most  convincingly,  Leland  H.  Carlson,  Martin  Marprelate, 
Gentleman.  Master  Job  Throckmorton  Laid  Open  in  His  Colors  (San  Marino:  Huntington 
Library,  1981).  The  Tracts  themselves  (STC  17453-59)  were  rpr.  in  facsimile  (Leeds: 
Scolar  Press,  1967).  Collinson  traces  the  story  through  the  "Discovery,  Prosecution, 
and  Dissolution"  of  the  disciplinarian  movement  in  E.P.M.,  Part  8.  For  Bancroft's 
role,  see  n.  35,  pp.  20—21,  above. 


The  Preface 

Hatton  warned  that  Elizabeth  doth 

most  straitly  charge  and  command  you  . . .  [that]  you  do  not  in 
this  assembly  so  much  as  once  meddle  with  any  . . .  matters  or 
causes  of  religion,  except  it  be  to  bridle  all  those,  whether  Papists 
or  Puritans,  which  are  . . .  discontented  [with  the  estate  and 
government  of  this  Church  of  England]. 

Never  before  on  such  a  solemn  occasion  had  Elizabeth's  officials 
equated  Puritan  with  Papist.  The  words  must  have  disconcerted  more 
than  a  few  of  the  assembled  legislators  committed  to  reform.  Elizabeth 
herself  had  come  close  in  her  closing  speech  to  the  1585  Parliament: 
"[I  mind  not]  to  animate  Romanists  (which,  what  adversaries  they  be 
to  mine  estate  is  sufficiently  known),  nor  tolerate  new-fangled- 
ness."  The  consequences  of  the  Marprelate  investigations  could 
only  heighten  establishment  determination  and  rhetoric  against  the 
church's  would-be  reformers. 

Third,  for  almost  thirty  years,  defenders  of  episcopacy  in  the  Eliza- 
bethan church  had  been  content  to  rest  their  case  primarily  upon  the 
right  of  an  independent  church  to  determine  the  order  of  its  own 
ministry.  According  to  the  theological  standards  they  put  forth,  the 
form  of  ministry  was  an  indifferent  matter,  and  ancient  tradition  and 
English  law  had  established  an  episcopal  order  in  the  national 
church.  However,  in  1587  the  arguments  escalated  in  a  massive 
volume  by  John  Bridges  (d.  1618),  dean  of  Salisbury,  and  in  1589  a 
published  sermon  by  Richard  Bancroft  (1544—1610),  an  increasingly 
prominent  and  active  member  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Commission. 

43  My  emphasis;  Neale,  2:198-199. 

44  Neale,  2:100 

See  below,  Introduction  to  Book  VII,  pp.  310-323;  also,  Collinson,  E.P.M., 
pp.  101-105. 

Bridges,  A  defence  of  the  government  established  in  the  church  of  Englande  for  ecclesias- 
ticall  matters,  STC  3734;  Bancroft,  A  Sermon  Preached  at  Paules  Crosse  the  9.  of  Februarie, 
1588,  STC  1346;  see  also  W.  D.  J.  Cargill  Thompson,  "A  Reconsideration  of 
Richard  Bancroft's  Paul's  Cross  Sermon  of  9  February  1588/9"  injoumal  of  Ecclesiasti- 
cal History,  20  (1969):  253—266,  and  "Sir  Francis  Knollys's  Campaign  Against  the  Jure 
Divino  Theory  of  Episcopacy,"  in  Studies  in  the  Reformation  (1980),  pp.  94—130;  also, 
Collinson,  E.P.M.,  p.  397. 



Comparing  the  antiquity  of  episcopal  with  presbyterian  orders,  both 
writers  claimed  little  more  than  what  the  Preface  to  the  Prayer  Book 
Ordinal  declared:  "that  from  the  Apostles  tyme,  there  hath  bene  these 
orders  of  Ministers  in  Christes  church,  Bisshopes,  Priestes,  and  Dea- 
cons."47 Nonetheless,  their  tone  was  offensive  to  both  English  and 
Scottish  presbyterians.  The  writings  demonstrated  that  apologists  for 
the  establishment  were  gaining  new  self-confidence  in  the  support  of 
their  episcopal  form  of  ministry. 

Fourth,  a  handful  of  advanced  Protestants,  increasingly  frustrated  by 
the  lack  of  progress  in  modifying  the  religious  settlement,  urged 
separatism  as  the  only  means  to  a  properly  reformed  church.  The 
solution  was  not  new  to  Elizabethan  protestantism.  While  bishop  of 
London  in  1567,  Grindal  had  suppressed  a  congregation  of  separatists 
in  London  that  had  formed  within  the  parish  that  had  also  nurtured 
Field.  At  the  beginning  of  the  eighties,  an  English  cleric,  Robert 
Browne  (1550?-1633),  called  for  "reformation  without  taryingfor  .  .  .  the 
Magistrate."  He  temporarily  emigrated  with  a  congregation  that 
settled  in  Holland  and  became  the  forerunners  of  the  American 
Pilgrims.  By  the  middle  of  the  decade,  Browne  himself  had  abandoned 
his  separatism  and  had  returned  to  the  national  church,  but  new  sepa- 
ratist voices  soon  emerged.  Browne's  writings  caught  the  imaginations 
of  a  cleric,  John  Greenwood  (d.  1593),  and  a  lay  lawyer,  Henry 
Barrow  (1550P-1593),  whose  own  writings  landed  them  in  prison  by 
1587.  Their  literary  output  from  prison  for  the  next  six  years  contin- 
ued to  fuel  the  separatist  cause  among  frustrated  fringe  groups  of 
English  reformers.  Separatists  were  few  in  number,  but,  as  the 
nineties  opened,  their  cause  provoked  condemnation  equally  by  estab- 

47  The  First  and  Second  Prayer  Books  of  Edward  VI  (1910;  rpr.  1949),  p.  292. 

A  Treatise  of  reformation  without  tarying  for  anie,  and  of  the  wickednesse  of  those 
Preachers,  which  will  not  reforme  themselves  and  their  charge,  because  they  will  tarie  till  the 
Magistrate  commaunde  and  compell  them  (1582;  STC  3910);  see  Peter  Milward,  Religious 
Controversies  of  the  Elizabethan  Age  (1977),  pp.  35-36  (hereafter,  Milward),  for  the 
tangled  bibliography  of  this  tract,  listed  in  the  STC  as  A  booke  which  sheweth  the  life  and 
manners  of  all  true  christians. 

49  For  separatism  before  Elizabeth,  see  nn  at  1.36:23-26  and  36.30-39.2,  and 
Collinson,  E.P.M.,  pp.  87-91. 


The  Preface 

lishment  supporters  and  by  the  majority  of  Puritans  who  were  com- 
mitted to  the  principle  of  a  national  church  they  wished  to  reform. 

The  Parliament  of  IS 93 

When  Parliament  assembled  on  19  February  1593,  the  Roman 
Catholic  threat,  the  Marprelate  tracts  and  the  secret  disciplinarian 
network,  the  defense  of  episcopacy,  and  separatism  all  emerged  in  the 
course  of  the  legislative  proceedings.  The  House  of  Commons  elected 
the  scholarly  lawyer  Edward  Coke  (1552—1634),  later  the  renowned 
jurist,  to  be  their  Speaker.  When  he  was  presented  to  the  queen  to  be 
confirmed  in  office,  the  formal  exchange  between  the  Speaker  and 
Lord  Keeper  Puckering  (1544—1616),  who  responded  for  Elizabeth, 
reflected  the  political  tensions  of  the  government  of  king-in-parlia- 
ment:  to  Coke's  petition  for  "liberty  of  Speech,"  she  granted  such 
liberty  "in  respect  of  the  I  [Aye]  and  No,  but  not  that  every  one 
should  speak  what  he  listed." 

Hatton's  1589  warnings  about  the  recovery  of  Spain's  purpose  and 
strength  seemed  to  have  been  borne  out.  Puckering  pointed  to  the 
renewed  threat  that  Philip  posed:  on  water,  he  was  rebuilding  his  navy 
in  the  proven  English  design  of  warships;  on  land,  in  support  of  the 
Catholic  League  in  France  against  Henry  IV  (1553—1610),  he  had 
brought  his  troops  into  nearby  Brittany;  and  he  was  intriguing  for 
Scottish  support  to  encircle  England.  The  Keeper  of  the  Great  Seal 
appealed  for  new  taxation  to  respond  to  these  new  initiatives  of  the 
Spanish  king,  who  "so  far  from  seeing  the  hand  of  God  that  strake 
him  .  . .  [was]  more  furiously  enraged  than  ever." 

Accordingly,  the  government  introduced  two  anti-Catholic  bills, 
one  in  each  house,  one  against  lay  recusants  and  the  other  against  the 
missionary  priests  whom  Hatton  had  earlier  labelled  "vile  wretches, 
those  bloody  priests  and  false  traitors,  here  in  our  bosoms  . . .  [who] 

Simonds  D'Ewes,  The  Journals  of  all  the  Parliaments  during  the  reign  of  Queen 
Elizabeth,  both  of  the  House  of  Lords  and  House  of  Commons  (1682),  p.  469;  hereafter, 

Neale,  2:246-247;  Sir  William  Upton  later  in  the  session  similarly  suggested 
that  the  malice  of  Pope  and  Spanish  king  could  be  quenched  by  nothing  but  "rivers 
of  blood";  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  Domestic  Series,  Elizabeth,  1591-94  (1867),  pp. 



will  not  cease  to  practice  both  at  home  and  abroad."  Of  the  two 
bills,  only  the  latter,  begun  in  Lords,  made  its  way  through  the  legisla- 
tive process,  with  both  houses  lightening  the  penal  measures  originally 
proposed.  The  other  anti-Catholic  bill  was  lost  in  the  lower  house 
in  the  midst  of  vigorous  arguments  over  the  possibility  that  the  penal- 
ties might  be  applied  to  Protestant  recusants;  as  one  member  asked: 
"Whether  those  that  came  not  to  Church  by  reason  of  the  mislike 
they  had  of  Church  Government,  shall  be  in  like  Case  as  a  Recusant 
Papist"  (D'Ewes,  p.  476).  Although  the  final  legislation  fell  short  of 
initial  government  intentions,  previous  anti-Catholic  measures  re- 
mained in  force  and  were  in  fact  strengthened  by  the  new  act. 

Balancing  the  threat  to  Catholic  aggression  from  without  with  that 
of  subversion  of  the  religious  settlement  from  within,  the  government 
also  confronted  the  disciplinarian  threat  that  the  Marprelate  investiga- 
tion had  revealed.  Sympathizers  with  advanced  Protestants  threw 
down  the  gauntlet  in  the  second  week  of  Parliament.  On  27  February 
James  Morice  introduced  two  bills  to  relieve  "the  hard  Courses  of  the 
Bishops  . . .  and  other  Ecclesiastical  Judges  . .  .  used  towards  sundry 
learned  and  godly  Ministers  and  Preachers  of  this  Realm."  A  member 
of  parliament  since  1584,  Morice,  Queen's  Attorney  of  the  Court  of 
Wards  and  Liveries,  had  become  one  of  the  small  circle  of  "parliament 
men"  on  whose  legal  and  legislative  skills  the  business  of  the  House 
depended.  He  was  sufficiently  prominent  in  his  profession  three  years 
later  to  be  elected  treasurer,  the  principal  executive  office  of  the 
Middle  Temple,  a  few  months  before  his  death.  In  that  office,  he 
succeeded  Miles  Sandys  (d.  1601),  the  uncle  of  Hooker's  former 
student  Edwin  Sandys,  who,  with  his  uncle,  also  sat  in  the  1593 
Parliament.  The  two  laws  that  Morice  proposed  in  1593  would  have 
outlawed  various  legal  instruments  of  the  church  courts  and  commis- 
sions, including  two  targets  of  long-standing  Puritan  complaints,  the 
ex  officio  oath,  and  the  articles  of  subscription  devised  by  Archbishop 

52  Neale,  2:199;  for  the  account  of  the  bills,  see  2:280-297. 

53  Elton  has  re-examined  evidence  in  the  1581  Parliament  that  casts  doubt  on 
Neale's  contention  (2:284)  that,  in  contrast  to  earlier  parliaments,  the  1593  Commons 
had  a  new  "more  tolerant"  spirit  (Parliament,  pp.  186-187).  Rather,  earlier  parliaments 
had  also  tended  to  lighten  penal  measures  proposed. 


The  Preface 

Whitgift  in  1583  to  enforce  clerical  conformity.  In  a  subsequent  letter 
to  Burghley,  Morice  suggested  that  unless  such  practices  were  curbed, 
"as  heretofore  wee  praied,  From  the  tyranny  of  the  B[ishop]  of 
Rome,  good  Lord  deliver  us  [as  in  the  Henrician  Litany  and  Edwardi- 
an Prayer  Books],  wee  bee  compelled  to  pray,  From  the  tyranny  of 
the  Clergy  of  England,  good  Lord  deliver  us."  Any  advanced  Prot- 
estant in  1593  would  have  been  especially  aware  of  the  recent  investi- 
gation and  imprisonment  of  those  disciplinarians  whose  network  had 
been  uncovered  in  the  Marprelate  investigations. 

The  Ecclesiastical  Commissioners  had  immediately  begun  to  exam- 
ine and  prosecute  those  whose  roles  in  the  Marprelate  writings  had 
been  revealed.  Early  in  1590  gentry  convicted  of  hiding  the  actual 
press,  both  men  and  women,  were  passed  on  to  the  Star  Chamber  for 
sentences  of  fines  and  imprisonment.  Job  Throckmorton  (1565-1601), 
the  sometime  lay  parliamentarian  and  probable  principal  author  of 
Martin,  was  examined  and  charged,  but  the  case  was  suspended  in 
1591  and  never  resumed.  The  cleric  John  Udall  (1560?-1592)  was 
examined  in  January  1590.  The  courts  to  whom  Udall  was  committed 
for  judgment  deemed  a  tract  he  authored  and  printed  on  the  Marpre- 
late press  to  have  been  seditious.  Sentenced  to  death,  he  received 
a  pardon  in  June  1592,  but  soon  died,  presumably  from  the  rigors  of 
his  imprisonment.  John  Penry  (1559—1593),  another  cleric  even  more 
deeply  involved  in  the  Marprelate  productions,  fled  to  Scotland.  His 
writings  had  suggested  a  strong  leaning  towards  separatism,  and,  on 
returning  to  London  in  1592,  his  association  with  a  separatist  congre- 
gation led  to  his  arrest  the  following  March  while  Parliament  was  in 
session.  Convicted  of  treason  for  seditious  unpublished  writings — a 

Morice  includes  the  text  of  the  letter  of  1  March  in  his  manuscript  treatise  on 
his  misadventures  in  the  1593  Parliament,  "A  Remembrance,"  pp.  122-123;  Morice's 
speech,  pp.  105-112;  full  text  of  one  bill  and  title  of  the  second,  pp.  112-117. 
D'Ewes,  p.  474.  For  Morice's  election  on  25  June  1596,  see  Charles  Henry  Hop- 
wood,  Middle  Temple  Records  (London:  Butterworth,  1904),  1:367;  and  see  Neale, 

See  references  at  n.  42,  p.  24,  above. 

A  demonstration  of  the  trueth  of  that  discipline  which  Christe  hath  prescribed  in  his 
worde  for  the  government  of  his  Church,  in  all  times  and  places,  untill  the  end  of  the  world 
(1588;  STC  24499);  see  1:27.1  l-13.n  and  247.8-248.6.£.n. 



conviction  surely  partly  motivated  by  his  role  in  the  Marprelate 
adventure — Penry  was  to  be  executed  two  months  later. 

The  Commissioners  had  given  intense  and  extended  attention  to 
the  newly  uncovered  network  of  disciplinarian  activists.  Numerous 
witnesses  were  called,  and  by  October  1590  nine  clerics,  including 
Cartwright,  were  imprisoned,  examined  by  the  Commission,  and 
finally,  in  May  1591,  sent  on  to  the  Star  Chamber.  Before  the  Com- 
mission, the  accused  all  refused  the  oath  ex  officio  mero,  and  this, 
together  with  their  nonconformity,  provided  grounds  for  the  depriva- 
tion of  all  but  Cartwright  from  their  church  livings.  Throughout  both 
Commission  and  Star  Chamber  procedures,  the  prosecutors  attempted 
to  prove  that  the  participants  in  the  network  intended,  in  violation  of 
the  law,  by  setting  up  their  presbyteries  and  synods,  either  to  subvert 
the  episcopal  regime  from  within  by  seditious  conspiracy  or  to  sepa- 
rate from  the  established  church.  As  one  of  those  arrested  wrote  from 
prison,  "Judge  you:  the  thing  [the  authorities]  ayme  at  is  a  conventi- 

The  prosecutors  in  the  Star  Chamber  trial  benefited  from  the  rise  of 
emotional  temperature  in  July  1591  when  two  laymen,  partly  motivat- 
ed by  the  imprisonment  of  the  ministers,  announced  a  new  messiah 
and  divinely  appointed  king:  one  William  Hacket,  a  mentally  dis- 
turbed former  serving-man,  who,  converted  by  Puritan  preachers,  had 
become  convinced  of  his  divine  mission  to  seize  power  to  bring  in  the 
new  age.  After  his  public  outburst  in  London,  government  and  courts 
dealt  swiftly  with  Hackett  and  the  other  conspirators.  Bancroft  and  his 
fellow  commissioner,  Richard  Cosin  (1549P-1597),  both  seized  on  the 
incident  and,   linking  the  deluded  zealots  with  the  disciplinarians, 

Popular  report  so  explained  Penry's  execution;  see  a  letter  of  1  May  from  a 
student  at  Clifford's  Inn  to  his  brother  in  the  Frere  Papers,  Historical  MSS  Commis- 
sion, 7th  report,  1879,  p.  223a;  see  also  William  Pierce,  John  Penry:  His  Life,  Times, 
and  Writings  (London,  1923),  pp.  355-481. 

Detailed  accounts  of  the  trial  are  found  in  Pearson,  Thomas  Cartwright,  chaps.  5 
and  6;  and  in  Collinson,  E.P.M.,  Part  8.2—3. 

Edmund  Snape,  11  April  1590,  from  Bancroft,  Daungerous  Positions,  p.  92;  see 
note  following.  Fuller  states  that  current  custom  had  given  the  word  "conventicle," 
in  spite  of  its  being  a  neutral  diminutive,  the  sense  of  "the  meeting  of  such  (how 
many  soever)  in  a  clandestine  way,  contrary  to  the  commands  of  present  lawful 
authority";  Church  History  (1845),  4:3. 


The  Preface 

wrote  of  it  to  illustrate  the  way  in  which  such  teachings  undermined 
the  foundations  of  a  stable  society.  They  hoped  the  incident  would 
underline  the  seditious  character  of  the  disciplinarian  conspiracy.  The 
presbyterian  defendants,  however,  insisted  that  their  meetings  and 
even  their  subscribed  "Book  of  Discipline"  were  in  the  nature  of 
proposals  to  which  they  hoped  to  win  the  consent  of  queen  and  par- 
liament for  peaceable  and  orderly  change.  True  to  their  desire  for 
reform  of  the  established  church,  they  consistently  denied  any  intent 
to  separate.  The  prosecutors  lacked  firm  evidence  of  treasonous  intent, 
and  even  though  the  clerical  reformers'  cases,  like  that  of  Throckmor- 
ton, were  not  resolved,  all  nine  had  been  released  from  prison  by  the 
fall  of  1592. 

As  the  1593  Parliament  opened,  the  status  of  the  released  defendants 
was  nebulous,  and  they  could  be  recalled  before  the  court  at  any  time. 
Morice's  proposals  to  relieve  "the  hard  courses  . . .  used  towards  . .  . 
godly  Ministers"  struck  at  the  core  of  the  charges  and  methods  of  the 
prosecutors.  Lively  debate  followed  the  introduction  of  the  bills,  but 
the  queen  caught  wind  of  the  matter  the  same  day.  She  called  Speaker 
Coke  and  sent  back  a  message  by  him  to  the  House,  stating  that  it 
was  in  her  power  "to  call  Parliaments, ...  to  end  and  determine  the 
same, ...  to  assent  or  dissent  to  anything  done.  It  was  not  meant  that 
[parliament]  should  meddle  with  matters  of  State  or  in  Causes  Ecclesi- 
astical." Morice  himself  was  called  before  the  Privy  Council  and 
remained  confined  to  the  home  of  a  designated  warden  until  the  end 


of  April.  The  disposition  of  the  bills  exemplifies  both  Elizabeth's 
consistent  policy  on  church  matters  throughout  the  reign  and  the 

Bancroft  made  the  Hacket  "conspiracy"  the  climax  of  the  account  of  secret 
Puritan  plotting  in  his  1593  Daungerous  Positions,  chap.  12.  In  1592,  Cosin  had 
published  his  Conspiracie,  for  pretended  reformation:  viz.  presbyteriall  discipline.  Discovering 
the  late  designments  by  W.  Hacket,  E.  Coppinger,  and  H.  Arthington  gent,  with  the  execution 
of  the  sayd  Hacket,  STC  5823;  see  nn.  97  and  98,  below.  For  a  modern  account,  see 
John  E.  Booty,  "Tumult  in  Cheapside:  the  Hackett  Conspiracy,"  Historical  Magazine 
of  the  Protestant  Episcopal  Church,  42.3  (1973):  293-317. 

See  n.  37,  p.  21,  above. 

Heywood  Townshend,  Historical  Collections:  or  An  exact  Account  of  the  Proceeding 
of  the  Four  last  Parliaments  of  Q  Elizabeth  (London,  1680),  pp.  62-63;  Neale,  2:267- 
276;  D'Ewes,  pp.  478-479;  Morice,  "A  Remembrance,"  pp.  117-118;  CSP,  Dom., 
1591-94,  p.  322  (244.52). 



reciprocal  involvement  of  religion  in  issues  of  parliamentary  privileges 
and  rights. 

A  wide  spectrum  of  Puritans  retained  their  determined  convictions 
and  spiritual  vigor,  but  the  Commissioners  had  broken  the  back  of  the 
disciplinary  movement  that  for  at  least  a  decade  had  provided  the  chief 
sinews  of  organization  and  the  lines  of  communication  for  a  wider 
body  of  advanced  Protestants.  Supporters  of  the  establishment,  how- 
ever, were  probably  more  impressed  with  the  newly  revealed  strength 
of  the  presbyterian  network  than  they  were  aware  of  the  disarray 
which  their  attacks  had  caused  in  the  reformers'  ranks. 

The  recently  strengthened  claims  advanced  for  episcopacy  evoked 
a  speech  by  a  prominent  Elizabethan  who  attacked  bishops'  rights  to 
hold  courts  in  their  own  names  without  special  licence  from  the 
crown.  Francis  Knollys  (1514?— 1596),  Elizabeth's  cousin  and  an  exile 
during  Mary  Tudor's  Roman  Catholic  restoration,  the  senior  privy 
councillor  present  who  had  sat  in  every  House  of  Commons  from  the 
beginning  of  the  reign,  supported  Morice:  the  lawyer  had  spoken  not 
"ageinst  Ecclesiasticall  Jurisidiction,  but  ageinst  abuses  in  the  clergy." 
From  1588  Knollys  had  sought  to  persuade  the  queen  that  bishops 
were  undermining  the  royal  supremacy  by  implicit  claim  to  a  jure 
divino  authority  independent  of  that  granted  by  queen  and  parliament. 
Speeches  against  Morice's  bill  had  evoked  Knollys's  Puritan  sympathies 
and  had  renewed  his  conviction  that  Archbishop  Whitgift's  policy  and 
its  defenders  were  reviving  a  prelatical  hierarchy,  free  of  government 
control,  that  he  thought  had  been  quashed  with  the  repudiation  of  the 
pope.  Knollys  reported  the  incident  to  Burghley,  commenting  that  the 
civil  lawyers  opposing  Morice 

would  fayne  have  a  kynde  of  Monarchye  in  the  sayd  Clergie 
government,  as  in  the  temporaltye,  the  which  Clergie  govern- 
ment they  would  have  to  be  exempted  from  the  temporall 
government,  saving  they  speake  not  agaynst  the  Prynces  gov- 
ernment towching  the  supremacye. 

Morice,  "A  Remembrance,"  p.  118;  Knollys  to  Burghley,  28  February  1593, 
in  Henry  Ellis,   ed.,   Original  Letters  Illustrative  of  English  History,  3rd  ser.,   vol.   4 


The  Preface 

From  his  standpoint,  Knollys  had  reason  to  be  concerned.  Not  only 
were  Bridges'  and  Bancroft's  defenses  of  episcopacy  in  print,  but  in 
the  early  nineties,  English  supporters  of  episcopacy  gained  further 
confidence  in  the  strength  of  their  theological  and  historical  posture. 
A  scholarly  Dutch  Reformed  pastor  and  theologian,  Hadrian  Saravia 
(1531—1613),  attracted  to  the  English  church,  emigrated  and  published 
his  argument  that  none  other  than  Jesus  Christ  himself  had  first 
instituted  episcopal  order. 

Before  1593  was  out,  the  future  bishop  of  Winchester,  Thomas 
Bilson  (1547—1616),  published  his  defense  of  episcopacy,  The  Perpetual 
Governement  of  Christes  Church  (STC  3065),  drawing  heavily  on  Old 
Testament  precedents.  Defenders  of  English  episcopacy  no  longer 
hesitated  to  affirm  the  scriptural  roots  of  their  polity  and  were  no 
longer  content  to  rest  their  case  solely  on  long  tradition,  the  royal 
will,  and  the  statutes  of  parliament. 

Meanwhile,  as  parliamentary  sessions  proceeded,  Greenwood  and 
Barrow  continued  their  advocacy  of  separatism  from  prison,  were  tried 
and  convicted  of  sedition,  and  were  executed  on  6  April  1593.  As 
though  from  the  grave,  their  words  were  illegally  spread  abroad  in  a 
pamphlet  which  gave  account  of  their  witness  to  their  principles  and 
that  of  their  fellow  martyr,  Penry,  during  interrogations.  The  two 
separatist  prisoners  and  the  third  on  the  brink  of  separatism  were 
convicted  under  a  1581  anti-Catholic  bill:  any  who  might  "devyse 
and  wrighte,  print  or  set  forthe  any  . . .  Writing,  conteyning  any  false 
sedicious  and  slaunderous  Matter  to  the  Defamacion  of  the  Queenes 
Majestie  . . .  shall  suffer  suche  paynes  of  Deathe  and  Forfeyture  as  in 
case  of  Felonye."  The  1581  legislators  had  qualified  the  description  of 

(London,  1896),  p.  Ill;  Neale,  2:271-272;  and  Cargill  Thompson,  "Sir  Francis 
Knollys's  Campaign." 

De  diversis  ministrorum  evangelii  gradibus  (1590;  STC  21746);  translated  the 
following  year  as  Of  the  diverse  degrees  of  the  ministers  of  the  gospell  (STC  21749). 

On  Hooker's  use  of  Saravia  and  Bilson,  see  the  Introduction  to  Book  VII,  pp. 
321—322  and  336,  below. 

The  examinations  of  Henry  Barrowejohn  Greenewood  and  John  Penrie.  Penned  by  the 
prisoners  themselves  before  their  deathes  (STC  1519);  Milward  dates  it  1593?  (p.  98),  the 
Rev.  STC  1596?  (1:68). 



the  infraction  with  the  phrase  "advisedlye  and  with  a  malicious 
intent,"  apparently  to  ensure  that  the  measure  would  never  be  applied 
to  loyal  Protestants,  but  the  phrase  failed  of  its  purpose  twelve  years 
later.  During  these  same  weeks  the  members  of  Parliament,  which 
sat  until  10  April,  debated  legislative  action  that  for  the  first  time  in 
Elizabeth's  reign  would  explicitly  extend  penalties  for  Protestant 
recusants  beyond  the  largely  unenforced  mild  fines  of  the  1559  Uni- 
formity Act. 

The  anti-Catholic  bill  that  began  in  the  House  of  Commons  on  26 
February  and  ultimately  failed  of  passage  would  have  increased  the 
severe  penalties  already  levied  against  recusant  Roman  Catholics.  An 
alert  Puritan  noted  dangers  in  the  wording  of  the  new  penal  clauses. 
The  statutes  might  be  interpreted  to  apply  to  separatists  "who  pretend 
to  be  of  our  religion"  or  even  to  "godly  and  zealous"  Protestants  who 
chose  to  attend,  in  preference  to  their  own  parish,  a  neighboring 
church  with  a  pious  preaching  parson.  The  member  did  not  wish  so 
stiff  penalties  against  the  former  nor  any  penalties  against  the  latter 
(Neale,  2:282-283).  When  the  bill  came  back  from  committee  on  12 
March,  the  penalties  were  limited  to  "popish  recusants."  In  debate  the 
next  day,  Miles  Sandys  led  the  attack  by  establishment  supporters  on 
the  committee  amendment.  He  urged  "that  the  bill  might  be  as  it 
went  firstf,]  Recustantes  generally  and  not  restrayned  to  Popish 
Recustantes  only. . .  .  He  thought  it  justice  to  include  the  Brownistes 
and  Baroestes."  In  spite  of  these  and  other  arguments,  the  House 
instructed  the  committee  to  reaffirm  its  action,  limiting  the  application 
of  the  bill  to  "popish  recusants."  The  committee  did  so,  but  the 
proposed  statute  never  went  beyond  a  second  reading  and  so  failed  of 
passage.     On  the  last  day  of  the  month  the  Lords  sent  to  Commons 

67  23  Eliz.  I,  cap.  2,  Statutes  of  the  Realm,  4:659;  Neale,  1:397  and  2:291;  Elton, 
Parliament,  pp.  186-187. 

68  Anonymous  Journal,  19  February-10  April,  1593,  BL,  MS  Cotton  Titus  F.ii, 
as  transcribed  and  kept  at  34  Tavistock  Square,  London,  p.  113. 

69  D'Ewes,  pp.  500,  502;  Neale,  2:284-285.  Throughout  the  legislative  reports, 
"Mr.  Sands"  with  no  given  name  attached  designates  a  speaker  or  committee  mem- 
ber. Both  R.  A.  Houk  and  C.  J.  Sisson  assumed  that  Edwin  was  the  speaker  (pp.  51 
and  64,  respectively;  see  nn.  76  and  77,  below),  and  Neale  confirmed  this  identifi- 


The  Preface 

a  bill  curiously  entitled  "for  explanation  of  a  branch  of  a  Statute  made 
in  [1581]."  The  bill  applied  the  severe  penalties  of  the  earlier  anti- 
Catholic  bill  to  Protestant  recusants.  "Obstinate"  separatists  would 
have  been  subject  to  execution  as  well  as  to  banishment,  and  the 
wording  was  capable,  by  interpretation,  of  ensnaring  nonconforming 
Puritans  as  well.  As  one  member  put  it,  speaking  "against  Non-Resi- 
dents,  Excommunication  as  it  is  used,  or  any  other  abuse  in  the 
Church  . . .  [would  put  one]  in  danger  of  the  Law";  the  clause  against 
conventicles  could  be  applied  against  a  "Conference  of  any  Persons 
together  being  of  any  number;  the  Prayers  of  Holy  Exercise  ...  is  an 
assembling  against  the  Laws"  (D'Ewes,  p.  517).  More  than  Puritan 
paranoia  underlay  the  fear  of  such  an  establishment  weapon:  the  cases 
of  Cartwright  and  his  companions  were  still  pending,  and  it  would 
have  been  a  fine  legal  point  to  determine  whether  or  not  a  "Bill  for 
Explanation"  of  an  earlier  statute  might  be  applied  retroactively. 
Surprisingly,  in  view  of  his  long  record  of  sympathy  with  the  Puritans, 
Lord  Burghley  served  as  the  Lords'  chief  spokesperson  and  manipulat- 
ed the  irregular  procedures  by  which  the  bill  passed  from  Lords  to 
Commons.     In  the  lower  house  Miles  Sandys  again  spoke,  support- 

cation  with  his  statement  that  the  speaker  was  "probably  Edwin."  Subsequent 
commentators  on  Hooker  have  followed  Neale;  see  Theodore  K.  Rabb,  "The  Early 
Life  of  Sir  Edwin  Sandys  and  Jacobean  London,"  Ph.D.  diss.,  Princeton  University, 
1961,  pp.  21—22.  P.  W.  Hasler  and  Alan  Harding,  however,  assign  the  speech  to 
Miles;  see  The  House  of  Commons,  1558-1603  (1981),  3:342.  In  conversation,  Mr. 
Hasler,  after  again  reviewing  the  evidence,  concluded  that  the  speaker  must  have  been 
Miles  for  the  clerk  to  have  identified  him  in  that  fashion.  Miles  had  sat  in  the  House 
since  1563  and  was  a  frequent  speaker  and  active  committeeman;  Edwin  was  only  in 
his  second  parliament,  and  his  much  later  fame  must  not  influence  a  twentieth-century 
student  attempting  to  envision  the  perspective  of  a  clerk  in  1593.  Michael  A.  R. 
Graves,  who  is  preparing  a  study  of  the  later  Elizabethan  parliaments,  also  agreed,  in 
conversation,  that  the  referent  should  be  identified  as  Miles  rather  than  Edwin. 

"An  Explanation  of  a  Branch  of  a  Statute,  made  in  the  Twenty-third  Year  of 
the  Queen's  Majesty's  Reign,  intituled,  An  Act  to  retain  the  Queen's  Majesty's 
Subjects  in  their  due  Obedience  [23  Eliz.  I,  cap.  1],  with  some  Addition  to  the 
same";  the  three  readings  in  Lords  took  place  on  26,  28,  and  31  March;  on  31  March 
it  was  sent  to  Commons.  Joumab  of  the  House  of  Lords  (1846),  2:182,  184;  Townshend, 
Collections,  p.  76;  D'Ewes,  p.  513. 

Neale  comments:  "Though  Burghley  sponsored  the  measure,  he  cannot  have 



ing  the  new  anti-Brownist  measure.  Vigorous  opposition  in  Com- 
mons to  the  severity  of  the  Lords'  bill  led  to  a  committee  decision  to 
write  what  was  in  effect  a  new  bill,  reducing  its  severity  and  carefully 
limiting  its  application  to  avowed  separatists.  In  conference  with 
Lords,  the  proposals  of  Commons  were  substantially  substituted  for  the 
original  measure.  On  the  day  after  the  execution  of  Barrow  and 
Greenwood,  Commons  passed  the  statute  and  Lords  promptly  expe- 
dited it.  Any  who  "shall  obstynatlye  refuse"  to  attend  Common 
Prayer  might  be  imprisoned  until  they  submitted  and  promised  to 
conform;  after  three  months  of  refusal,  such  separatists  were  subject  to 
banishment  and  those  who  sheltered  them  to  stiff  fines.  A  banished 
separatist  who  returned  was  to  be  "adjudged  a  Felon." 

Zealous  defenders  of  the  establishment  had  not  won  all  they  had 
sought.  Although  the  queen  had  blocked  Morice's  attempt  to  set  back 
their  anti-Puritan  campaign,  they  had  not  won  from  parliament  any 
measures  which  they  might  effectively  employ  against  the  discipli- 
narians who  strove  to  reform  the  established  church  from  within.  The 
fact  remained,  however,  that  for  the  first  time,  parliament  had  estab- 
lished substantial  penalties  for  Protestants  as  well  as  for  Roman  Catho- 
lics who  separated  from  the  national  church.  Two  years  earlier  Knollys 
had  written  in  exasperation  to  Burghley  over  the  royal  support  for  the 
proceedings  against  Cartwright  and  the  other  imprisoned  ministers: 

been  happy  about  it.  He  seems  at  this  time  to  have  been  outcountenanced  in  Court 
and  Council  by  Whitgift"  (2:288).  Burghley  had  secured  a  reprieve  for  Barrow  and 
Greenwood,  and  when  they  were  executed  during  the  Commons'  consideration  of 
the  bill,  he  was  seen  speaking  "sharply  to  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  who  was 
very  peremptory";  see  CSP,  Dom.,  1591-94,  pp.  341-342  (244.124,  letter  of  Thomas 
Phelippes  to  Wm.  Sterrell).  Neale  further  suggests  that  although  Burghley's  sympathies 
were  with  the  Puritans  rather  than  with  Whitgift,  he  was  "plagued  by  the  godly 
importunities  of  the  Puritans  and  perhaps  [was]  tiring  of  them"  (Neale,  2:242).  Clearly 
Burghley  and  Whitgift  teamed  up  in  the  1593  parliamentary  proceedings.  This  was  the 
first  Parliament  since  the  death  of  the  devoutly  Protestant  Lady  Mildred  Cecil  in  1589. 
Perhaps  Burghley  found  it  easier  to  support  anti-Puritan  legislation  if  he  did  not  have 
to  account  to  his  wife  for  its  passage;  see  Cal.  MSS,  Hatfield  House,  5:71. 

72  D'Ewes,  p.  517;  Townshend,  Collections,  p.  76;  Neale,  2:288-289. 

73  D'Ewes,  pp.  519-520;  Lords  Journal,  2:190;  Neale,  2:286,  290-294. 

74  35  Eliz.  I,  cap.  1;  Statutes  of  the  Realm,  4:841-842. 


The  Preface 

I  do  marvell  how  her  Majestie  can  be  persuaded  that  she  is  in  as 
much  danger  of  such  as  are  called  Purytanes  as  she  is  of  the  Pap- 
ysts,  and  yet  her  Majestie  cannot  be  ignorant  that  the  Purytanes  are 
not  able  to  change  the  government  of  the  clergie,  but  only  by 
petition  of  her  Majestie's  handes. 

The  early  months  of  1593,  then,  mark  the  point  at  which  not  only 
the  queen  but  parliament  as  well  formally  recognized  that  unity  of  the 
English  people  within  the  national  church  might  be  endangered  from 
its  Protestant  as  well  as  from  its  Roman  Catholic  critics.  And  it  was  at 
this  turning  point  in  the  struggles  over  the  religious  settlement  that 
Richard  Hooker's  Lawes  appeared. 

Hi.  The  1593  Publication 

Books  I— IV:  The  First  Edition 

The  immediate  circumstances  surrounding  the  publication  of  the 
first  books  of  Richard  Hooker's  major  work  have  come  to  light  only 
in  the  last  half-century.  Until  R.  A.  Houk's  1931  edition  of  Book  VIII 
established  1593  as  the  year  of  the  appearance  of  the  Preface  and  Books 
I— IV  of  the  Lawes,  scholars  followed  Hooker's  seventeenth-century 
biographer,  Isaak  Walton  (1593-1683),  in  assigning  it  to  1594.  C. 
J.  Sisson  in  1940  discovered,  sifted,  and  interpreted  court  documents 
illuminating  the  whole  scene  of  the  author's  family  and  home,  his 
printer  and  patron,  and  the  economic  trials  of  publication.  Subse- 
quent studies  have  built  on  these  foundations  together  with  those 
provided  by  the  parliamentary  studies  initiated  by  Neale  and  the 

Thomas  Wright,  ed.,  Queen  Elizabeth  and  her  Times  (London,  1838),  2:417; 
Neale  dates  this  letter  in  May  1591  (2:325-326). 

76  Isaak  Walton,  The  Ufe  of  Mr.  Rich.  Hooker  (London,  1665;  Wing  W  670);  rpr. 
in  Works  of .  .  .  Mr.  Richard  Hooker,  ed.  John  Keble,  7th  ed.  rev.  R.  W.  Church  and 
F.  Paget  (1888),  1:69  and  91,  hereafter,  Keble;  see  l:xiii-xiv;  Ronald  Bayne,  ed.,  The 
Fifth  Book  (1902),  p.  xxxix,  hereafter,  Bayne;  Raymond  Aaron  Houk,  ed.,  Book  VIII 
(1931;  rpr.  1973),  pp.  53-59.  For  a  critique  of  Walton's  Life,  see  David  Novarr,  The 
Making  of  Walton's  "Lives"  (1958),  pp.  197-298. 

The  Judicious  Marriage  of  Mr.  Hooker  and  the  Birth  of  "The  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical 
Polity"  (1940);  hereafter,  Sisson. 



investigations  of  Elizabethan  Puritanism  nurtured  by  Collinson.78 

An  entry  in  the  Stationers'  Register  of  29  January  1593  (N.S.)  is 
the  first  record  we  have  of  the  Lawes.  It  describes  the  work  as  "Eight 
bookes  by  Richard  Hooker  . . .  Aucthorised  by  the  lord  archbishop  of 
Canterbury  his  grace  under  his  hand,"  and  the  title  page  of  the 
volume  begins:  Of  the  Lawes  of  Ecclesiasticall  Politie.  Eyght  Bookes 
(l:[xxxix]).  Although  the  published  volume  contained  only  the 
Preface  and  the  first  four  books,  a  reader  would  most  naturally  con- 
clude that  the  author  had  substantially  completed  eight  books,  that  the 
archbishop  had  perused  and  approved  them,  and  that  the  subsequent 
four  would  appear  in  the  very  near  future. 

The  reader's  expectation  would  be  reaffirmed  on  reading  the 
Preface.  Chapter  7  is  entitled  "The  matter  conteyned  in  these  eyght 
bookes,"  and  Hooker  wrote  of  the  contents  of  all  eight  in  present  and 
perfect  tenses,  suggesting  their  completion.  In  chapter  8,  mention- 
ing the  royal  prerogative,  Hooker  affirmed  its  significance,  "as  in  the 
last  [eighth]  booke  of  this  treatise  we  have  shewed  at  large"  (§  2;  1:39.11). 
Following  chapter  9,  the  reader  encounters  a  second  summary  of 
"What  things  are  handled  in  the  Bookes  following"  outlining  the  unpub- 
lished books  as  well  as  the  four  published  in  1593.  And  in  the  opening 
chapter  of  Book  I,  referring  to  the  general  character  of  the  first  four 
in  contrast  to  the  "specialities"  of  the  latter  four  books,  Hooker  wrote: 

I  have  endevoured  throughout  the  bodie  of  this  whole  discourse, 
that  every  former  part  might  give  strength  unto  all  that  followe, 
and  every  later  bring  some  light  unto  all  before.  So  that  if  the 
judgements  of  men  doe  but  holde  themselves  in  suspence  as 
touching  these  first  more  generall  meditations,  till  in  order  they 
have  perused  the  rest  that  ensue:  what  may  seeme  darke  at  the 


See  nn.  12  and  13,  above. 

A  Transcript  of  the  Registers  of  the  Company  of  Stationers  of  London,  1554-1640 
(1875—1894),  2:625;  on  its  publishing  history,  see  l:xiii— xx,  this  edn. 

"I  have  .  .  .  set  doume.  .  .  .  I  have  spent  the  second  booke.  .  .  .  The  first  three  bookes 
being  thus  ended,  the  fourth  proceedeth  from  the  generall  grounds  .  .  .  [unto]  generall  accusations 
....  Of  those  foure  bookes  which  remaine  and  are  bestowed  about  the  specialties  .  .  .  the  first 
examineth.  .  .  .  The  second  and  third  are  concerning  .  .  .  the  eight  booke  we  have  allotted  .  .  . 
and  have  sifted.  .  .  .  Thus  have  Ilayd  before  you  .  .  .  and  presented"  (1:34.29,  35.8,  17,  27- 
28,  29,  33-34,  and  36.7-10). 


The  Preface 

first  will  afterwardes  be  founde  more  plaine,  even  as  the  later 
particular  decisions  will  appeare,  I  doubt  not  more  strong,  when 
the  other  have  beene  read  before.  (§  2;  1:57.24—33) 

It  was  to  be  some  years  before  readers  would  be  able  to  follow  his 
advice:  Book  V  did  not  appear  until  1597,  and,  with  only  imperfect 
manuscripts  of  Books  VI  and  VIII  surviving  Hooker's  death  in  1600 
(VII  seems  complete),  not  until  1662  were  readers  able  to  acquire 
published  editions  of  eight  books  of  the  Lawes  substantially  as  we  have 


them  today.  The  only  hint  in  the  1593  edition  of  a  possible  delay 
appeared  after  Book  IV  in  an  appended  "advertisement  to  the  Reader": 

I  have  for  some  causes  (gentle  Reader)  thought  it  at  this  time 
more  fit  to  let  goe  these  first  foure  bookes  by  themselves,  then  to 
stay  both  them  and  the  rest,  till  the  whole  might  together  be 
published.  Such  generalities  of  the  cause  in  question  as  here  are 
handled,  it  will  be  perhaps  not  amisse  to  consider  apart,  as  by 
way  of  introduction  unto  the  bookes  that  are  to  followe  con- 
cerning particulars.  (1:345.1—7) 

Even  the  most  gentle  reader  might  have  been  expected  to  find  exces- 
sive a  delay  of  four — and  finally  of  sixty-five — years. 

There  are  signs  of  haste  in  the  Preface  of  the  1593  volume  that  are 
confirmed  by  the  chronology  of  its  publication.  Barely  six  weeks 
passed  from  the  entry  of  the  Lawes  in  the  Stationers'  Register  to  a 
letter  of  13  March  from  Hooker  to  Burghley,  accompanying  a  pre- 
sentation copy  of  "these  writings  concerning  the  nobler  part  of  those 
laws  under  which  we  live"  (l:xviii).  Georges  Edelen  has  determined 
that,  assuming  John  Windet,  the  printer  and  Hooker's  cousin,  added 
two  additional  compositors  to  the  two  who  had  begun  to  set  the  type, 
the  printing  could  have  been  completed  in  three  working  weeks 
(l:xxix— xxx,  359—372).  An  interrogatory  in  the  court  records  uncov- 
ered by  Sisson,  which  included  the  phrase  that  the  work  had  been 
"hastened  by  such  eminente  persons  whome  the  cause  did  moste 
speciallie  concerne"  (Sisson,  p.  145),  confirms  the  haste  in  printing. 

The  Preface  comes  to  a  natural  end  with  chapter  7,  which  summa- 

Books  VI  and  VIII  were  published  in  1648,  Book  VII  in  1662;  for  accounts  of 
their  publication,  see  3:xiii-xxx  and  xliv-lxix,  this  edn. 



rizes  the  topics  to  be  discussed  in  the  forthcoming  eight  books.  Instead 
of  proceeding  to  Book  I,  however,  Hooker  continues  with  a  chapter 
8,  adds  a  brief  concluding  chapter  9,  and  then  provides  the  second 
summary  of  the  contents  of  the  eight  books.  The  awkwardness  of  the 
unexplained  transition  between  chapters  7  and  8  belies  Hooker's 
usually  careful  craftsmanship. 

More  than  half  again  larger  than  any  previous  chapter,  chapter  8 
introduces  a  polemic  of  a  different  character  from  the  arguments  de- 
ployed  in  earlier  chapters,  and  it  contains  a  glaring  exception  to  the 
author's  usual  careful  use  of  his  opponents'  texts.  In  a  quoted  phrase 
from  a  recent  Puritan  pamphlet,  Hooker  turns  its  meaning  upside 
down  (1:50.2—5).  The  carelessness  invited  an  attack  on  his  accuracy 
and  integrity.  Chapters  8  and  9  with  the  table  of  contents  following 
have  the  marks  of  a  hasty  addition. 

Two  explanations  have  been  given  for  the  discrepancy  between  the 
actual  publishing  record  and  the  apparent  assumption  in  the  initial 
volume  that  all  eight  books  were  substantially  completed.  One,  a 
natural  conclusion  from  Walton's  narrative,  holds  that  Hooker,  pub- 
lishing Books  I-V  as  he  finished  them  and  dying  before  he  had 
completed  the  task,  wrote  his  work  serially  during  the  decade  of  the 
nineties.     Overly  optimistic  about  the  pace  of  his  production  while 

The  integrity  of  this  polemic  is  reflected  in  the  publication  of  chapters  8  and  9, 
together  with  parts  of  chapter  79  of  Book  V,  as  a  royalist  tract  in  1642:  The  dangers  of 
new  discipline,  to  the  state  and  church  discovered,  fit  to  be  considered  by  them  who  seeke  (as 
they  tearme  it)  the  reformation  of  the  church  of  England  (Wing  D  199). 

The  quotation  came  from  one  of  the  pseudonymous  Martin  Marprelate 
pamphlets;  see  pp.  23—24,  above.  Assuming  that  episcopal  polity  were  abolished  in 
England,  Martin  had  tauntingly  asked  the  bishops,  would  they  insist  on  their  offices 
"whether  her  Majesty  and  the  Counsell  wil  or  no?"  Reversing  the  sense  of  Martin's 
words,  Hooker  claimed  that  he  had  written  that  the  disciplinarians — not  the  bishops 
would — impose  their  polity  "whether  hir  Majestie  and  our  state  will  or  no";  see 
1:50.4— 5. r.n.  In  his  narrative  of  the  Anabaptists,  Hooker  also  follows  his  source  De 
Bres  in  two  incorrect  citations  of  biblical  verses  (incorrect,  at  least,  for  the  English 
Bibles);  see  l:43.21-24.£.n  and  44.7-1 7./.n. 

W.  Speed  Hill  first  laid  out  these  alternatives  in  "Hooker's  Polity:  the  Problem 
of  the  'Last  Three  Books,'  "  The  Huntington  Library  Quarterly,  34  (1971):  320. 

Walton  does  not  address  the  Preface's  inconsistency,  but  his  account  implies  a 
serial  production  (Keble,  1:66-70,  84,  and  91-97).  Three  modern  critics  who  have 


The  Preface 

writing  the  first  volume,  he  proleptically  anticipated  the  completed 
work.  A  corollary  of  this  explanation  requires  the  archbishop's  approv- 
al to  have  been  based  on  little  more  than  the  initial  volume  in  manu- 
script and,  perhaps,  a  prospectus  of  the  remainder. 

A  theory  of  serial  production  runs  counter,  however,  to  evidence 
provided  by  a  manuscript  known  to  Walton,  printed  by  Hooker's 
principal  nineteenth-century  editor,  John  Keble  (1 792-1 866),86  and 
reprinted  in  volume  3  of  this  edition  (105-140).  George  Cranmer  and 
Edwin  Sandys,  Hooker's  former  pupils  and  junior  colleagues  at  Ox- 
ford, had  prepared  detailed  criticisms  of  a  draft  of  Book  VI.  In  Cran- 
mer's  critique  he  referred  to  what  Hooker  had  "done"  already  in  "the 
booke  of  B[ishops]";  Book  VII,  apparently,  was  in  draft  at  the  time 
(3:126.6-7).  Sandys's  mention  of  "your  printed  bookes"  establishes  a 
terminus  a  quo  for  his,  the  second,  part  of  the  manuscript,  namely,  the 
publication  of  the  first  volume  in  March  1593  (3:130.29).  His  refer- 
ence to  a  speech  by  "Mr  Speaker  in  the  Parliament"  (Edward  Coke), 
together  with  other  circumstantial  details,  suggest  a  terminus  ad  quern 
not  too  far  removed  from  Parliament's  adjournment  on  10  April 
(3:133.27).      The  existence  of  a  draft  of  Books  VI  and  VII  at  this 

judged  Hooker  to  have  attempted  to  unify  irreconciliable  principles  have  also  implicit- 
ly attributed  the  incompletion  of  the  work  to  his  struggles  in  composing  the  final 
books:  H.  F.  Kearney,  "Richard  Hooker:  A  Reconstruction,"  Cambridge  Journal,  5 
(1952):  300-311;  Peter  Munz,  The  Place  of  Hooker  in  the  History  of  Thought  (1952;  rpr. 
1970);  and  Gunnar  Hillerdal,  Reason  and  Revelation  in  Richard  Hooker  (Lund:  C.  W.  K. 
Gleerup,  1962).  Sisson  explicitly  argued  for  serial  writing  (pp.  79-91).  Rudolph 
Almasy,  disagreeing  with  motivations  proposed  by  Craig  and  Hill  for  Hooker's 
revision  of  the  treatise,  provides  a  case  which  is  consistent  with  either  serial  produc- 
tion or  a  revision  from  different  motives  in  "The  Purpose  of  Richard  Hooker's 
Polemic,"  Journal  of  the  History  of  Ideas,  39  (1978):  251-270  (see  n.  88,  below,  for 
references  to  Craig  and  Hill).  P.  G.  Stanwood  judges  that  the  autograph  working 
notes  for  Books  VI  and  VIII  suggest  that  Hooker  wrote  the  books  serially;  it  does  not 
preclude  an  initial  draft  of  all  eight  books  (3:xx-xxiv).  McGrade  concludes  from  the 
evidence  of  these  notes,  however,  that  Book  VI  was  undergoing  substantial  revision 
at  Hooker's  hands,  and  Gibbs  reconstructs  that  revision;  Booty  argues  that  Book  V  as 
we  have  it  was  revised  (pp.  237-242,  253-255,  and  187-193,  below). 
86  Keble,  1  :xxxiv-xxxvii  and  3:108-139. 

See  also  3:xxxi,  and  below,  p.  260.  Keble  assumed  the  reference  was  to  Speaker 
Yelverton  in  1597,  but  he  presented  no  evidence,  such  as  Stanwood  and  Gibbs  present 



early  stage  suggests  that  the  clear  implication  of  Hooker's  words  in  the 

for  Coke,  to  relate  Sandys's  topical  content  with  that  of  Yelverton's  utterances  in 
Parliament.  Sandys  was  almost  certainly  abroad  at  the  time  of  the  1597  Parliament  and 
the  publication  of  Book  V,  as  Nicholas  Eveleigh,  Sandys's  steward  and  brother-in-law, 
deposed  in  1614;  see  Sisson,  p.  139.  Keble's  dating  presumed  that  Cranmer  and 
Sandys  were  working  on  the  draft  of  VI  in  the  last  two  or  three  years  of  Hooker's  life 
(3:132n,  and  2:598n). 

Further  help  in  dating  the  manuscript  is  found  in  the  absence  of  Cranmer  and 
Sandys  from  England  from  mid- 1596  to  mid- 1599  on  a  journey  that  inspired  Sandys 
to  propose  the  reconciliation  of  the  churches  in  A  Relation  of  the  State  of  Religion;  see 
n.  4,  above.  Entering  the  Middle  Temple  in  February  1589,  Sandys  was  admitted  to 
new  chambers  on  26  November  1591  and  on  1  December  1595  relinquished  his  place 
in  the  latter  on  18  May  1596  to  Nicholas  Eveleigh,  who  had  been  admitted  to  the 
Temple  on  11  November  1590;  see  Hopwood,  Middle  Temple  Records,  1:312,  316, 
325,  359,  and  364.  On  26  June  1596,  the  Privy  Council,  in  a  communication 
regarding  a  law  suit  in  which  Sandys  was  involved,  noted  that  he  had  been  "expreslie 
comaunded  by  her  Majestie  to  attend  upon  ...  the  Earle  of  Lincoln  in  his  purposed 
Ambassage  into  Germany"  and  was  "licensed  afterwardes  to  travaile  into  other  forreyn 
partes";  see  John  Roche  Dasent,  Acts  of  the  Privy  Council  of  England,  N.  S.,  vol.  25 
[1595-96]  (London,  1901),  p.  497.  Cranmer  was  at  The  Hague  on  27  July  1596, 
according  to  a  letter  from  the  Earl  of  Lincoln  to  Robert  Cecil,  and  at  Padua,  Italy  on 
26  May  1597,  according  to  a  letter  from  Cranmer  himself  to  Cecil;  see  Historical 
Manuscripts  Commission,  Calendar  of  the  Manuscripts  of  .  .  .  the  Marquis  of  Salisbury 
Preserved  at  Hatfield  House  (1883-),  6:289-290  and  7:217.  Sandys  and  Cranmer  were 
registered  at  the  Genevan  Academy  on  6  November  1597;  see  S.  Stelling-Michaud, 
he  Livre  du  Recteur  de  I'Academie  de  Geneve  (1559-1878)  (Geneva:  Droz,  1959),  1:126. 
Cranmer  wrote  to  an  unidentified  correspondent  from  Orleans,  France  on  22  July 
1598  seeking  employment;  see  Cal.  MSS,  Hatfield  House,  8:270.  Sandys  dated  the 
manuscript  of  his  treatise  9  April  1599  at  Paris;  Europaz  Speculum  (The  Hague:  1629, 
STC  21718),  p.  248.  Cranmer  was  in  England  in  time  to  leave  with  Lord  Mountjoy 
for  Ireland  on  26  February  1600,  where  he  was  killed  in  battle  on  13  November, 
eleven  days  after  Hooker  himself  died;  see  Fynes  Moryson,  An  Itinerary  .  .  .  Containing 
[Fynes  Moryson' s]  Ten  Yeeres  Travell .  .  .  Divided  into  III  Parts  .  .  .  The  II.  Part.  Contain- 
ed the  Rebellion  of  Hugh,  Earle  of  Tyrone  (1617;  STC  18205),  2:54  and  83-84;  Keble, 
2:598;  and  Bayne,  pp.  xxxiii-xxxiv  and  577-579.  In  his  expansion  of  his  translation 
of  Camden's  Annates,  Robert  Norton  commented  that  Cranmer  accompanied  Sandys 
"in  his  travels  into  France,  Germany,  Italy,  and  other  parts  by  the  space  of  three 
yeeres";  Annals,  or,  the  historie  of  .  .  .  Elizabeth,  trans.  R.  N.  (London,  1635;  STC 
4501).  Walton  followed  Norton  in  the  1670  edition  of  Hooker's  Life;  both  Norton 
and  Walton  had  access  to  the  Cranmers;  see  Bayne,  p.  577n,  and  compare  Houk,  p. 
95.  If  Sandys  and  Cranmer  left  and  returned  together,  the  journey  for  both  began 
early  summer  1596  and  was  concluded  in  the  summer  or  fall  of  1599,  making  it 
unlikely  that  they  read  manuscripts  of  Books  VI  or  VII  while  abroad. 


The  Preface 

first  volume  are  to  be  taken  at  face  value:  he  had  prepared  a  substantial 
(if  imperfected)  draft  of  eight  books  by  the  opening  months  of  1593. 
The  second  explanation  for  the  discrepancy  between  the  plain  sense 
of  the  first  volume  and  the  actual  publication  record  is  consistent  with 
the  existence  of  such  a  draft:  the  advice  of  Hooker's  friendly  critics 
together  with  whatever  may  have  been  his  own  dissatisfaction  with 
the  state  of  the  work  led  him  to  recast  and  expand  the  four  later 


books.  By  the  time  he  had  finished  Book  V,  he  had  a  manuscript 
more  than  five  times  as  long  as  Book  I,  the  longest  of  the  first  four 
books;  the  present  Book  VII  is  almost  twice,  and  VIII,  one  and  one- 
half  times  the  length  of  I.  If  completed  in  the  manner  that  McGrade 
and   Gibbs   suggest  below,   Book  VI   would  have   been   at  least  as 


lengthy  as  these.  Newly  discovered  autograph  notes  demonstrate 
the  care  with  which  Hooker  constructed  his  arguments  and  incorpo- 
rated new  material  as  he  revised  his  work.  The  question  to  be 
asked:  why  did  Hooker  decide  that  the  first  four,  with  the  Preface, 
would  go  forward  to  publication  in  the  first  months  of  1593? 

The  signs  of  haste  in  the  printing  of  the  1593  volume  of  the  Lawes, 
the  indications  of  a  last-minute  addition  to  the  Preface,  and  the 
evidence  for  a  draft  of  all  eight  books  together  suggest  that  particular 
circumstances  of  the  moment  must  have  led  Hooker  to  publish  the 
Preface  and  only  four  books  in  the  opening  months  of  1593.  A  letter 
to  Hooker  from  George  Cranmer,  who  with  Edwin  Sandys  vetted 
some  if  not  all  of  the  books  of  the  Lawes,  suggests  why  it  was  Hooker 
decided  to  expand  the  Preface.  The  record  of  the  1593  Parliament 
suggests  why  he  decided  to  advance  its  publication  together  with 
Books  I-IV. 

Those  scholars  who  have  opted  for  an  initial  completed  draft  in  1593  include 
Bayne  (p.  xxxix),  Houk  (as  a  possibility,  but  certainly  by  1596;  pp.  76-79,  82-86,  and 
91—104);  Hardin  Craig,  "Of  the  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity — First  Form"  (1944); 
hereafter,  Craig;  Hill,  "The  Evolution  of  the  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity,"  S.R.H. 
(1972),  pp.  117-158;  Olivier  Loyer,  L'Anglicanisme  de  Richard  Hooker  (1979),  1:49-62, 
hereafter,  Loyer;  John  Booty  (below,  pp.  187—193);  and  Lee  W.  Gibbs  (below,  pp. 

89  For  Book  VI,  see  below,  pp.  237-242  and  253-255. 

See  3:xx-xxiv  and  462-554,  and  below,  pp.  237—246. 



The  Preface:  Contents  and  Audience 

Cranmer's  letter  is  reprinted  in  the  Commentary  just  before  notes 
on  chapter  8  (1:36.1 5-53. 15.n).  Like  chapters  8  and  9  of  the  Preface, 
it  first  appeared  publicly  as  a  1642  royalist  pamphlet.  Walton, 
followed  by  Keble,  dated  it  February  1598,  but  more  recent  studies 
link  it  more  plausibly  to  the  circumstances  of  1593.  Although  the 
"excellent  letter"  is  more  a  formal  essay  than  a  personal  missive,  there 
are  direct  addresses  in  which  Cranmer  urges  Hooker  to  revise  the 
present  draft:  "What  further  proofes  you  can  bring  out, ...  I  leave  to 
your  better  remembrance. . . .  One  of  those  points,  which  I  am  desir- 
ous you  should  handle. . . .  From  hence  you  may  proceed. . . .  You 

may  exhort "  (see  §§  4,  6,  8,  and  10,  in  1:36. 15-53. 15.n,  below). 

If  the  postulate  of  a  completed  1593  draft  is  accepted,  it  is  possible  to 

Concerning  the  new  church  discipline,  an  excellent  letter,  written  by  Mr.  George  Cranmer 
to  Mr.  R.  H.  (1642;  Wing  C  6826;  see  n.  82,  above). 

No  date  of  inscription  appeared  in  the  1642  publication.  The  letter  appeared  as 
an  appendix  in  Walton's  first  (1665)  edition  of  the  Life  with  the  assigned  date, 
"February  1598"  (p.  175)  and  was  reproduced  the  following  year  in  the  1666  edition 
of  Hooker's  Works  (Wing  H  2631),  p.  31.  Keble  noted  that  the  seventeenth-century 
archivist  of  the  Corpus  Christi  College  Library,  William  Fulman  (1632-1688),  had 
written  this  date  on  a  copy  of  the  1642  pamphlet;  either  Fulman  or  Walton,  who 
were  in  touch  with  one  another,  could  have  been  its  source  (Keble,  2:598n  and  598- 
610;  1  :xxvii— xxviii  and  [cxvii]).  Cranmer's  mention  of  what  Hooker  handled  "in  the 
beginning  of  the  fifth  book"  may  have  suggested  the  date  to  those  who  thought  only 
of  a  printed  work,  not  of  a  possible  draft.  Bayne  pointed  out  that  Hooker  included 
material  that  Cranmer  had  proposed  in  the  Dedication  to  Book  V:  it  would  hardly 
make  sense  for  Cranmer  to  have  made  these  suggestions  if  the  book  had  already  been 
published;  consequently,  Bayne  proposed  a  date  shortly  before  the  publication  of  the 
complete  Book  V  (pp.  xxxiii-xxxiv,  578n,  and  577-588).  Novarr  concluded,  in 
opposition  to  Keble,  that  Walton  had  used  the  1642  pamphlet  as  a  copy  text  rather 
than  an  independent,  and  perhaps  original,  manuscript,  but  he  accepted  Keble's  dating 
(Walton's  "Lives,"  pp.  247-248  and  n.  92).  Craig  was  the  first  to  argue  for  placing  the 
letter  in  1593,  as  a  stimulus  to  an  addition  of  chapter  8  to  the  Preface  ("First  Form," 
pp.  100—101).  Hill  supported  Craig,  arguing  that  Cranmer's  letter,  together  with  the 
Cranmer-Sandys  critique  of  VI,  were  the  keys  to  understanding  the  whole  process  by 
which  the  publication  of  the  Lawes  was  delayed  and  its  parts  expanded;  see  "The 
Problem,"  pp.  331-334,  and  "The  Evolution,"  pp.  137-145. 


The  Preface 
trace  the  ways  by  which  Hooker  responded  to  some  of  the  Cranmer's 


concerns  in  revising  the  Lawes. 

Cranmer's  opening  words,  "What  posterity  is  likely  to  judge  . . . ," 
allude  to  the  opening  of  Hooker's  Preface,  quoted  above  (p.  1),  and 
he  later  refers  to  "the  beginning  of  the  fift  booke"  (§§  1  and  6; 
compare  1:1.9).  He  outlines  the  growth  of  the  "favourers  and  fathers 
of  the  Discipline"  in  Elizabeth's  reign,  from  the  vestiarian  controversy 
to  the  Marprelate  pamphlets,  crowning  the  survey  with  an  extended 
account  of  the  crazed  Hacket  and  his  two  companions  in  the  summer 
of  1591.  The  importance  assigned  to  the  incident  is  appropriate  for 
one  writing  in  the  aftermath  a  year  and  a  half  later  but  less  so  after  six 
or  seven  years  have  passed. 

Although  Cranmer  had  before  him  a  draft  of  a  major  part  of  the 
Lawes,  if  not  of  all  eight  books,  two  comments  suggest  that  he  was 
addressing  a  particular  section  of  the  treatise.  In  referring  to  the 
"cursed  crew  of  Atheists,"  Cranmer  proposed  that  "although  you 
handle  [the  causes]  in  the  beginning  of  the  fift  booke,  yet  here  againe 
they  may  be  touched"  (§  6).  After  discussing  the  atheists,  Cranmer 
advised:  "From  hence  you  may  proceed  ...  to  another  discourse, 
which  I  think  very  meet  to  be  handled  either  here  or  elsewhere  at 
large"  (§  8).  In  both  cases,  Cranmer  wrote  of  "here"  and  a  different 
part  of  the  work  under  consideration  as  if  both  he  and  Hooker  'were 
well  aware  of  the  section  to  which  "here"  referred.  The  larger  con- 
text of  the  letter  suggests  that  "here"  was  the  Preface. 

W.  Speed  Hill  has  described  Cranmer's  purpose  aptly:  the  letter 
"was  meant  to  persuade,  not  to  inform.  He  is  not  telling  Hooker 
things  he  did  not  know;  he  is  urging  upon  him  a  role  Hooker  was 

Bayne  cites  parallels  in  V.Ded.;  see  pp.  xxxiii  and  578— 582nn. 
When  Cranmer  implicated  the  disciplinarians  in  the  Hacket  incident,  he 
followed  Cosin's  account  in  the  1592  Conspiracie,  for  Pretended  Reformation.  Bancroft 
made  a  similar  use  of  the  incident  in  his  1593  Daungerous  Positions  and  Proceedings,  4.5— 
14.  When  Hooker  finally  discusses  the  incident  in  1597  (Ded.V;  2:3.15—4.30),  he  used 
it  not  as  the  culmination  of  the  Puritan  movement,  but  simply  as  an  example  of  how 
"a  sparke  of  error"  may  lead  "in  a  cause  of  Religion  to  .  .  .  desperate  adventures"  by 
those  who  "imagine  infallible  truth  where  scarce  any  probable  show  appeareth." 



reluctant  to  assume."  Cranmer  urged  Hooker  to  criticize  his  oppo- 
nents not  only  for  convictions  they  had  openly  owned,  but  also  for 
possible  consequences  of  their  program.  The  degree  of  Hooker's 
reluctance  to  assume  this  role  may  be  argued,  but  even  a  rapid  reading 
of  the  Preface  demonstrates  that  Hooker  did  not  assume  such  a  role  in 
chapters  1  to  7  and  that  he  vigorously  exhibits  it  in  chapter  8.  If  the 
break  between  chapters  7  and  8  is  rightly  judged  to  mark  an  addition, 
then  surely  Cranmer's  letter  explains  it. 

The  concerns  of  Cranmer's  letter  match  the  contents  of  chapter  8, 
whereas  little  in  the  early  chapters  does.  After  the  brief  introductory 
first  chapter,  Hooker  proceeds  in  the  second  to  discuss  the  origins  of 
the  presbyterian  "new  discipline"  in  Geneva,  rooting  it  in  the  social 
and  political  circumstances  of  Calvin's  leadership  rather  than  in  the 
scriptural  grounds  which  the  disciplinarians  claimed  for  it.  He  ends  the 
chapter  with  a  brief  historical  survey  of  Puritan  development,  similar 
to  Cranmer's  except  that  Hooker's  culminated,  not  with  the  scurrilous 
Marprelate  and  the  psychotic  Hacket,  but  with  the  theological  po- 
lemic of  Cartwright  (Pref.  2.10;  1 :  12.1 1-12). 97 

"The  Problem,"  p.  334;  compare  "The  Evolution,"  p.  140. 
96  Hill,  "The  Problem,"  p.  331. 

Cranmer  concluded  his  historical  account:  "Hereof  read  Doct.  Bancrofts  book" 
(§  3).  Craig  judged  that  Cranmer  referred  to  Bancroft's  1589  published  sermon,  where 
Bancroft  spoke  of  incidents  involving  militant  reformers  and  two  apocalyptic  preachers 
who  had  caused  two  recent  incidents  comparable  to  that  of  Hacket  ("First  Form,"  p. 
101;  A  Sermon  Preached  at  Paules  Crosse,  pp.  7-8;  see  above,  note  46).  Since  English 
custom  changed  years  on  25  March,  if  Cranmer  were  writing  before  the  publication 
of  Lawes,  he  could  not  have  been  referring  to  the  1 593  published  work,  Daungerous 
Positions,  which  included  an  account  of  the  Hacket  incident.  However,  in  the  London 
circles  in  which  Cranmer  traveled,  he  might  well  have  seen  a  manuscript  of  Bancroft's 
forthcoming  work.  This  is  the  most  probable  candidate  for  the  reference,  but  there  are 
three  other  possibilities.  If  Cranmer  intended  the  reference  to  refer,  not  specifically  to 
Hacket,  but  to  the  larger  historical  survey,  he  could  have  been  referring  (1)  to 
Bancroft's  1 589  sermon,  as  Craig  thought,  or  (2)  to  a  manuscript  of  Bancroft's  other 
1593  publication  that  also  appeared  without  the  author's  name,  A  Survay  of  the  Pretended 
Holy  Discipline.  If  Cranmer  intended  to  refer  specifically  to  the  Hacket  incident,  candi- 
dates include  (3)  the  manuscript  of  Daungerous  Positions  or,  just  possibly,  (4)  the  1592 
Conspiracie,  for  Pretended  Reformation,  attributed  to  Richard  Cosin;  this  latter  book 
appeared  anonymously,  and  Bancroft  referred  to  it  in  Daungerous  Positions  (p.  168). 


The  Preface 

Recognizing  that  Puritan  militancy  attracted  many  religiously  com- 
mitted men  and  women,  Hooker  discusses  in  chapter  3  the  psycholog- 
ical process  that  has  moved  "the  common  sort  so  much  to  favour  this 
innovation"  (§  5;  1:15.6).  He  then  turns  in  the  next  chapter  to  the 
"leameder  sort,"  and,  scrutinizing  the  authorities  on  which  they  base 
their  claims  for  the  discipline,  he  suggests  that  they  have  "too  much 
authorized  the  judgements  of  a  few"  (§§  1  and  8;  1:21.10  and  26.32-33). 
Since  the  disciplinarians,  confident  of  the  scriptural  mandate  for  their 
cause,  are  "earnest  chalengers  .  .  .  of  try  all  by  some  publique  disputation" 
Hooker  accepts  the  challenge  in  chapters  5  and  6  and  describes  appro- 
priate conditions  for  such  a  disputation.  Above  all,  he  insists  that  both 
sides  agree  that  they  will  abide  by  a  final  "definitive  sentence,  without 
which  almost  impossible  it  is  that  eyther  we  should  avoyd  confusion,  or  ever 
hope  to  attaine  peace"  (5.1  and  6.3;  1:27.12-13  and  32.1-2).  Underlying 
Hooker's  demand  for  a  process  to  arrive  at  a  decision  is  a  basic  as- 
sumption: "A  lawe  is  the  deed  of  the  whole  bodie  politike,  whereof  if  ye 
judge  your  selves  to  be  any  part,  then  is  the  law  even  your  deed  also"  (5.2; 
1:27.33—28.2).  Hooker  concludes  these  chapters  with  his  summary  of 
"the  matter  conteyned  in  these  eyght  bookes"  to  convince  his  adversaries 

Cranmer  may  have  mistaken  Cosin's  colleague  Bancroft  for  the  author  of  this  last 
work,  for  Cosin's  authorship  was  not  affirmed  by  either  of  the  two  writers  who  might 
have  been  expected  to  mention  it.  Camden  later  described  the  incident  but  did  not 
refer  to  the  book,  although  he  identified  Cosin  as  an  opponent  of  the  disciplinarians; 
in  his  obituary  of  Cosin,  he  similarly  made  no  mention,  although  he  indirecdy  re- 
ferred to  another  of  Cosin's  works:  An  Apologie:  of,  and  for  sundrie  proceedings  by 
jurisdiction  ecclesiasticall  (STC  5820);  see  Camden,  Annates  rerum  Anglicarum,  et  Hibemica- 
rum  regnante  Elizabetha  .  .  .  pars  quarta  (1627;  STC  4496.5),  pp.  34-39  and  171.  Nor 
did  William  Barlow  mention  it  in  his  1598  biography  of  Cosin,  although  he  did  refer 
to  Cosin's  two  other  known  works  (Vita  et  obitus  .  .  .  Richardi  Cosin,  STC  1460,  p. 
27).  In  his  1612  biography  of  Whitgift,  George  Paule  identified  Cosin  as  the  book's 
author  (The  life  of  the  most  reverend  prelate  J.  Whitgift,  STC  19484,  pp.  42-43).  Accord- 
ingly, in  1592  or  1593  Cranmer  might  well  have  ascribed  the  Conspiracie  to  Bancroft. 
In  any  case,  the  reference  to  "Doct.  Bancrofts  book"  in  the  singular  is  additional 
evidence  for  the  earlier  date  for  the  letter.  By  1597,  he  would  be  expected  to  identify 
which  among  Bancroft's  three  published  works  provided  the  appropriate  example. 
Cranmer  would  certainly  have  known  by  then  of  Bancroft's  authorship  of  his  two 
significant  polemical  1593  works  as  well  as  of  the  acknowledged  sermon  published  in 



that  "for  the  ecclesiasticall  lawes  of  this  land,  we  are  led  by  great  reason  to 
observe  them,  and  yee  by  no  necessitie  bound  to  impugne  them"  (7.1;  1.34. 
14—18).  In  none  of  these  seven  chapters  does  Hooker  directly  suggest 
that  the  implementation  of  disciplinary  program  might  disrupt  or 
destroy  beneficent  structures  of  English  society. 

The  title  of  chapter  8  signals  the  change  in  tone:  "How  just  cause 
there  is  to  feare  the  manifold  dangerous  events  likely  to  ensue  upon  this 
intended  reformation,  if  it  did  take  place"  (1:36.15—17;  emphasis  added). 
Cranmer  had  suggested  that  four  groups  had  been  at  least  strengthened 
by  the  would-be  reformers:  separatists  (Brownists),  "godless"  politiques, 
atheists,  and  Roman  Catholics;  of  these,  he  identified  the  Brownists  as 
the  "first  rank"  of  those  who  had  built  upon  disciplinarian  founda- 

If  the  positions  of  the  Reformers  be  true,  I  cannot  see  how  the 
maine  and  generall  conclusions  of  Brownisme  should  be  false. . . . 
Above  all  points,  I  am  desirous  this  one  should  be  strongly 
inforced  against  them,  because  it  wringeth  them  most  of  all,  and 
is  of  all  others  . . .  the  most  unanswerable.  You  may  ...  be  heart- 
ily glad  . . .  [that]  the  Brownists  might  not  appeare  to  have  issued 
out  of  their  loines:  but  untill  that  be  done,  they  must  give  us 
leave  to  thinke  that  they  have  cast  the  seed  whereout  these  tares 
are  growen.  (§  4) 

Hooker  opens  chapter  8  with  an  argument  put  into  the  mouth  of  an 
imagined  separatist  addressing  the  reformers: 

From  your  breasts  .  .  .  we  have  sucked  those  things  which  .  .  .  ye  tearmed 
that  heavenly,  sincere,  and  wholesome  milke  of  Gods  worde,  howsoever 
ye  now  abhorre  as  poison  that  which  the  vertue  thereof  hath  wrought  and 
brought  forth  in  us.  (§  1;  1:36.32-37.3) 

After  elaborating  on  this  theme,  he  comments  in  his  own  voice: 
"TTtus  the  foolish  Barrowist  deriveth  his  schisme  by  way  of  conclusion,  as  to 
him  it  seemeth,  directly  and  plainely  out  of  your  principles"  (1:39.2—4). 

Cranmer  had  further  urged  Hooker  to  distinguish  the  "proper  and 
essentiall  points"  from  the  "accidentall,"  identifying  the  former  as 
"these  two,  overthrow  of  Episcopall,  erection  of  Presbyteriall  authori- 
ty." Opening  the  next  section,  Cranmer  had  identified  a  point  "of 


The  Preface 

great  regard  . . .  which  I  am  desirous  to  have  enlarged  .  . .  when  they 
strike  at  the  state  Ecclesiasticall,  they  secretly  wound  the  Civill  State" 
(§§  8  and  9).  Although  in  chapter  8  Hooker  does  not  reiterate  Cran- 
mer's  two  principal  points  as  such,  he  stresses  the  consequences  he 
foresees  if  presbyterian  discipline  were  to  be  established.  The 
"changes  likely  to  insue  throughout  all  states  and  vocations  within  this  land" 
will  (1)  diminish  the  authority  of  crown  and  nobility,  (2)  overthrow 
learning  in  "all  commendable  arts  and  sciences"  by  attacking  their  institu- 
tional structures  at  the  two  universities,  and  (3)  abolish  the  need  for 
civil  lawyers,  drastically  reduce  the  need  for  common  lawyers,  and — at 
least  potentially — transfer  from  English  courts  to  local  presbyteries  "the 
most  things  handled  in  them"  (§§  2-4;  1:39.7-8,  40.4-5,  41.29). 

To  drive  home  the  dangerous  character  of  the  militants'  program, 
Hooker  draws  on  the  example  of  the  Anabaptists,  the  betes  noires  of 
sixteenth-century  Europe  (1:42.15— 49. 30.n).  As  did  most  of  his 
contemporaries,  Hooker  used  the  excessive  fanaticism  of  a  radical 
fringe,  who  had  had  the  most  tenuous  relations  with  the  peaceful 
continuing  body  of  Anabaptists,  to  characterize  the  whole  movement. 
After  reforming  their  own  personal  practices,  they  had  "proceeded  unto 
publike  reformation,  first  Ecclesiasticall,  and  then  Civil"  (Pref.  8.7;  1:44.3— 
4).  He  concludes  by  advising  the  disciplinarians  that  since  the  world 
had  had  this  "fresh  experience"  of  radical  religion,  they  must  not  be 
offended  if  "the  sequele  of  your  present  misperswasions  much  more  be  doubt- 
ed, then  your  owne  intents  and  purposes  doe  happily  ayme  at"  (§  13;  1:49. 
31—50.2).  In  the  final  clause  of  chapter  8,  Hooker  summarizes  the 
distinctive  arguments  there  presented: 

there  is  in  everie  of  these  considerations  most  just  cause  tofeare  least  our 
hastines  to  embrace  a  thing  of  so  perilous  consequence  should  cause 
posteritie  tofeele  those  evils,  which  as  yet  are  more  easiefor  us  to  prevent 
then  they  would  be  for  them  to  remedy.  (§  14;  1:51.19—22) 

Hooker  did  highlight  these  two  in  the  corresponding  introduction  to  his  next 
publication,  the  Dedication  to  Whitgift  of  Book  V  (§  8;  2:5.26-31).  He  also  included 
the  Hacket  incident  and  the  Marprelate  campaign  in  his  historical  account  of  the 
development  of  Puritanism — neither  of  which  he  had  included  at  the  end  of  chap.  2 
of  the  Preface  (§§  6  and  7;  2:4.2-5.24). 



Hooker  had  driven  home  two  related  points  which  Cranmer  had 
urged:  the  logic  of  separatist  conclusions  from  disciplinarian  founda- 
tions and  the  threat  of  the  reforming  program  to  the  stability  of 
English  society.  Cranmer  would  not  have  had  reason  to  write  his 
letter  to  the  author  of  the  Lawes  had  this  chapter  already  been  before 

In  the  brief  concluding  chapter  9,  Hooker  returns  to  a  conciliatory 
tone  reminiscent  of  the  earlier  chapters,  urging  his  opponents  to  re- 
examine and  sift  their  arguments.  Although,  as  he  had  demonstrated 
in  chapter  8,  "with  us  contentions  are  now  at  their  highest  floate"  he  trusts 
that  "the  passions  of  former  enmitie"  may  be  allayed  so  that  with  "ten 
times  redoubled  tokens  of  our  unfainedlie  reconciled  love"  he  and  they  may 
"shewe  our  selves  each  towards  other"  as  Joseph  and  his  brethren  had  in 
Egypt  (§  4;  1:53:5-11).  Since  chapter  7  was  now  buried  in  the  midst 
of  the  Preface  narrative,  Hooker  added  an  explanatory  table  of  con- 
tents of  all  eight  books  before  beginning  the  formal  treatise. 

What  then  was  the  relation  between  Cranmer's  letter  and  his 
critique  of  Book  VI?  Sandys's  comments  came  after  March  1593  as  a 
supplement  to  Cranmer's,  but  how  long  after  is  uncertain.  In  one 
comment,  Cranmer  began:  "I  could  wishe  that  something  were  sayd 
to  this  effect  concerning  their  Lay  elders"  (3:128.19-20).  He  proposed 
that  Hooker  challenge  his  opponents  to  admit  that  their  presbyterian 
polity  began  at  Geneva  with  Calvin  so  that  they  might  enter  into  a 
"politique  conference"  rather  than  entering  such  a  meeting  convinced 
that  their  system  alone  was  "commaunded  of  God."  This  judgment  of 
the  origin  of  Genevan  polity  is  the  topic  of  chapter  3  of  the  Preface, 
and  Hooker  lays  down  the  terms  of  such  a  "disputation"  in  chapters  5 
and  6.  Cranmer  then  briefly  suggested,  as  he  proposed  at  length  in  his 
letter,  that  the  disciplinarians  might  be  told  of  the  dangerous  social 
consequences  of  their  platform:  "contempt  of  the  prince  and  nobility, 
insolency  of  the  base  people,  etc.  and  such  other  as  at  your  leasure 
you  may  conceave."  Hooker  did  just  that  in  chapter  8.  Cranmer's 
suggestion  sounds  as  if  he  had  read  neither  the  initial  draft  of  the 

99  Sandys  refers  to  "your  printed  bookes"  at  3:130.29  and  to  "your  objection 
against  the  precisians  in  your  preface"  (3:133.5);  compare  Pref.  8.4  (1:41.19-29). 


The  Preface 

Preface  nor  its  revision  when  he  wrote  the  critique  of  Book  VI.  Per- 
haps the  explanation  is  that  Hooker,  like  many  scholars,  saved  the 
Preface  for  last. 

If  these  interpretations  of  Cranmer's  comments  are  correct,  a 
chronological  succession  of  the  hypothetical  and  extant  documents 
would  be  as  follows: 

1.  [Hooker's  completion  of  a  draft  of  eight  books.] 

2.  [Cranmer's  and  Sandys's  comments  on  Books  I— V.] 

3.  Cranmer's  comments  on  VI  (extant). 

4.  [Hooker's  initial  draft  of  the  Preface — that  is,  chapters  1—7]. 

5.  Cranmer's  letter  (extant). 

6.  [Hooker's  revision  of  the  Preface — that  is,  the  addition  of  chap- 
ters 8  and  9];  publication  of  Preface  and  I— IV. 

7.  Sandys's  comments  on  VI  (extant). 

8.  Hooker's  revision  of  Book  V  and  its  publication  in  1597. 

9.  [Hooker's  revisions  of  VI— VIII]  (manuscript  copies  of  part  of  VI 
and  most  of  VIII  extant). 

The  Lawes:  Sponsorship  and  Publication 

Hooker  became  known  as  a  public  opponent  of  the  Puritans  only 
after,  as  master  of  the  Temple  church,  he  had  been  challenged  by 
Travers,  his  predecessor's  deputy  and  the  continuing  reader.  Prior 
to  his  appointment  and  probably  in  1584,  in  a  sermon  at  the  in- 
vitational pulpit  outside  London's  St.  Paul's  Cathedral,  Hooker's  treat- 
ment of  predestination  had  caught  Travers's  attention  and  evoked  his 
disapproval:  Hooker  had  taught  "otherwise  then  the  word  of  god 
doeth."  This  incident  foreshadowed  Hooker's  eventual  theological 


stance.       Apart  from  this  sermon,  however,  what  little  is  known 

For  accounts  of  the  Hooker-Travers  Controversy,  see  5:261-269,  628—629, 
and  641—648,  this  edn.;  for  a  selection  of  contemporary  documents,  see  Supplement 
I,  5:271-292. 

Walton  dated  it  "in  or  about  the  year  1581"  (Keble,  1:22);  Georges  Edelen 
dates  it  in  1584;  see  Chronology,  p.  xxii,  above. 

102  See  Travers's  Supplication  (5:198.14-20)  and  Hooker's  Answer,  §§  7-8  (5:235. 
29—236.19).  No  other  contemporary  references  to  the  Paul's  Cross  sermon  have  come 



about  Hooker's  early  career  contains  no  hint  of  his  later  role  as  estab- 
lishment apologist. 

Hooker's  early  patron,  John  Jewel,  had  spent  most  of  Mary's  reign 
in  Zurich.  Obedient  as  bishop  in  "things  indifferent,"  Jewel's  polemi- 
cal writings  against  Rome  emphasized  the  congruity  of  the  English 
church  with  patristic  tradition  in  ways  that  ultimately  contributed  to 
the  development  of  what  has  come  to  be  known  as  "Anglican- 
ism." Nonetheless,  Jewel  had  drawn  no  clear  lines  to  distinguish 
English  teaching  and  church  life  from  that  of  the  continental  Re- 
formed   communities    with    whom    he    had    lived    during    Mary's 



Corpus  Christi  College  had  strong  Puritan  associations  during 
Hooker's  years  at  Oxford.  During  Mary's  reign,  William  Cole  had 
resided  successively  in  Zurich,  Frankfort,  Basel,  and  Geneva.  Be- 
fore assuming  the  college  presidency,  he  had  ministered  in  the  English 
congregation  at  Antwerp,  which  had  been  largely  assimilated  to  the 
surrounding  Reformed  congregations  (Travers  had  served  the  same 
congregation  before  he  came  to  the  Temple,  and  Cartwright  had  suc- 
ceeded him).  When  Hooker  became  a  probationary  fellow  of  Corpus 
in  1577,  one  of  his  senior  associates  was  the  future  successor  to  Cole, 
John  Rainolds,  already  on  his  way  to  becoming  the  most  prominent 
Puritan  theologian  in  the  university. 

Rainolds  was  much  more  the  scholarly  academic  than  an  ecclesias- 

to  light.  In  two  sermons  on  Jude,  now  dated  in  1582-83,  Hooker's  strong  condemna- 
tions of  Rome  would  have  been  cheered  by  Puritans  and  establishment  supporters 
alike  (5:13-57). 

See  pp.  2ff.,  above. 
104  In  1559  and  1562  letters  to  Peter  Martyr,  Jewel  affirmed  that  the  English 
differed  not  "in  the  slightest  degree"  nor  "by  a  nail's  breadth"  from  Zurich's  and 
Martyr's  doctrine.  In  a  1566  letter  to  Bullinger  and  his  son-in-law,  Lewis  Lavater,  in 
Zurich,  Jewel  acknowledged  that  English  use  required  clergy  to  wear  the  surplice,  but 
expressed  his  wish  that  this  with  "all  vestiges  of  popery"  might  be  abolished;  The 
Zurich  Letters,  PS  (1842-45),  1:21,  101  and  149.  See  John  E.  Booty,  John  Jewel  as 
Apologist  of  the  Church  of  England  (1963). 

Christina  Hollowell  Garrett,  The  Marian  Exiles  (1938;  rpr.  Cambridge:  The 
University  Press,  1966),  p.  123;  see  pp.  13  and  16,  above. 

For  Hooker's  appointment,  see  Chronology,  p.  xx,  above. 


The  Preface 

tical  leader.  Although  he  advised  conformity  when  it  was  demanded 
by  authority,  he  advocated  a  "starkly  supralapsarian"  doctrine  of 
predestination  and  was  named  in  the  1591  Star  Chamber  investigations 
by  a  witness  as  one  who  had  participated  in  the  Oxford  classis  in  the 
eighties.  In  a  1580  letter  to  Knollys,  Rainolds  reported  that  "both 
me  and  Mr.  Hooker,  and  three  other  of  our  fellows"  had  been  ex- 
pelled from  the  college.  In  erroneous  expectation  of  an  imminent 
departure  of  the  president,  they  had  opposed  a  maneuver  intended  to 
replace  Cole  with  an  establishment  rigorist.  Hooker  may  have  been 
motivated  by  personal  and  collegiate  statutory  rather  than  by  ecclesias- 
tical considerations;  Rainolds  wrote  of  the  action  as  an  "unrighteous 
dealing  . . .  against  all  law  and  reason."  Nonetheless,  on  this  only 
known  occasion  of  Hooker's  participation  in  a  university  issue  with  a 

.  •         108 

religious  dimension,  Hooker  was  aligned  on  the  Puritan  side. 

Correspondence  has  survived  to  suggest  that  Hooker  and  Rainolds 
maintained  their  friendship  after  Hooker  left  Oxford  for  London  at 
the  end  of  1584.  In  his  notes  on  Book  VI,  Cranmer  referred  to 
"D.  Raynoldes  note  in  the  former  bookes,"  advising  Hooker  to  seek 
information  on  a  detail  of  patristic  history  from  him  "when  you  send 
your  booke"  (3:108.32  and  112.3).  It  would  seem  that  Hooker  had 
asked  for  the  scholar's  comments  on  his  manuscript  and  intended  to 
send  him  a  copy  of  the  first  volume.  The  relationship  reminds  us  that 
disagreement,  in  and  out  of  the  academic  community,  need  not  have 
precluded  mutual  respect  and  personal  friendship  and  that  the  disputes 
between  Puritans  and  supporters  of  the  establishment  were  fundamen- 
tally family  disagreements  whose  lines  of  division  often  refuse  to  fit  the 
neat  divisions  of  their  later  interpreters. 

107  Collinson,  E.P.M.,  p.  320;  for  Rainolds,  see  Dent,  Protestant  Reformers,  pp. 
106,  132—133  (and,  more  generally,  chaps.  5  and  6). 

108  Walton  included  the  letter,  which  remains  among  the  Fulman  MSS  (Keble, 
1:19-21);  see  Novarr,  Walton's  "Lives,"  pp.  285-286. 

109  A  letter  of  4  December  1584  from  the  London  printer  George  Bishop  to 
Rainolds  tells  of  Hooker's  acting  as  an  agent  for  the  publication  of  a  Rainolds 
manuscript  (Fulman  MSS.  IX,  214r;  see  Sisson,  p.  21).  There  are  two  letters  from 
Hooker  to  Rainolds  while  the  latter  was  in  residence  at  Queen's  College,  Oxford, 
between  1586  and  1598  (Keble,  1:109-114).  Another  letter,  of  uncertain  date,  in 
Latin,  is  printed  and  translated  in  this  edition,  5:421-434. 



The  immediate  setting  for  the  Lawes,  however,  was  not  Oxford  but 
the  Temple,  as  Walton  wrote:  "the  foundation  of  these  books  was  laid 
in  the  Temple"  (Keble,  1:66).  The  dispute  there  with  Travers  forced 
Hooker  to  articulate,  for  the  first  time  to  a  wide  public  audience, 
some  of  the  more  technically  theological  implications  of  the  Elizabe- 
than settlement,  and  Travers's  challenge  to  his  authority  as  master 
prompted  him  to  think  through  his  own  reasons  for  supporting  the 
ecclesiastical  structures  that  in  turn  supported  him.  Though  the  con- 
nections are  indirect,  the  continuity  of  the  content  of  the  Lawes  with 
that  of  the  Temple  dispute  is  patent.  However,  no  firm  evidence 
supports  Walton's  assumption  that,  with  the  unequivocal  blessing  of 
Archbishop  Whitgift,  Hooker  maintained  a  continuous  single-minded 
trajectory  from  1586  to  1593  and  beyond  as  he  worked  on  his  treatise. 
Even  less  evidence  sustains  the  hypothesis  of  an  explicit  commission 
from  the  ecclesiastical  hierarchy  that  had  begun  before  Hooker  was 
appointed  to  the  mastership. 

An  observer  today  can  only  speculate  when  Hooker  conceived  and 
initiated  the  project.  He  married  Joan  Churchman  (d.  1603)  in  1588, 
had  fathered  four  of  his  six  children  by  1593,  and  in  1591  resigned  the 
Temple  in  exchange  for  three  joined  livings  in  the  diocese  of  Salis- 
bury.       Although   he  probably  spent  some   time   in   Salisbury  and 

110  See  Hill,  "Doctrine  and  Polity  in  Hooker's  Laws"  English  Literary  Renaissance, 
2.2  (Spring  1972):  173-193. 

Sisson  clarified  many  of  Walton's  errors  regarding  Hooker's  career  as  well  as 
his  family  life,  but  he  went  beyond  his  own  skilfully  assembled  evidence  in  suggesting 
that  Hooker  undertook  his  work  "as  the  deputed  spokesman  of  the  Church,"  an 
assignment  which  had,  in  fact,  determined  his  earlier  appointment  to  the  Temple  (pp. 
4—6).  Novarr's  clear  analysis  of  Walton's  ability  to  make  "the  wish  or  thesis  the  father 
of  the  fact"  lessened  the  evidential  value  of  Walton's  account  of  Hooker's  plea  to 
Whitgift  for  a  place  of  "peace  and  privacy"  to  complete  his  treatise  (Keble,  1:67; 
Novarr,  Walton's  "Lives,"  pp.  266  and  287-289).  Craig  proposed  that  Whitgift 
"possibly  encouraged  Hooker  to  proceed  with  his  work"  ("First  Form,"  p.  96).  Hill 
pointed  out  that  Hooker's  "own  desire"  to  respond  to  the  issues  raised  at  the  Temple 
is  sufficient  to  account  for  the  origin  of  the  work,  a  view  which  is  "not  incompatible 
with,"  but  does  not  "require"  an  archiepiscopal  commission;  "Evolution,"  S.R.H. 
(1972),  p.  130.  See  also  Richard  Bauckham,  "Hooker,  Travers  and  the  Church  of 
Rome  in  the  1580s,"  Journal  of  Ecclesiastical  History,  29  A  (1978):  50. 

1,2  Sisson,  pp.  21-22  and  124-125.  The  Salisbury  livings  included  the  subdeanery 


The  Preface 

Boscombe  after  1591,  his  principal  residence  after  his  marriage  re- 
mained the  London  house  of  his  father-in-law  John  Churchman 
(1534—1614),  a  prominent  and  wealthy  city  merchant. 

His  residence  with  the  Churchman  family  provides  a  continuing 
link  with  Sandys,  who  was  on  intimate  terms  with  the  Churchmans, 
and  another  less  certain  one  with  Cranmer.  As  their  former  tutor, 
Hooker  was  seven  to  nine  years  their  senior,  but  the  frank  language  of 
their  comments  on  Book  VI  bespeaks  a  developed  mutuality  in  their 
friendship.  Circumstantial  evidence  links  Sandys's  family  and  associates 
with  the  Churchmans,  and  it  may  well  be  that  Sandys  originally 
introduced  Hooker  to  the  family,  perhaps  on  the  occasion  of  Hooker's 
Paul's  Cross  sermon.  Sandys's  family  had  extensive  ties  with  the 
Middle  Temple,  one  of  the  two  neighboring  lawyers'  Inns  of  Court 
to  which  Hooker  was  chaplain  from  1585  to  1591. 

and  a  prebend  of  the  Cathedral  and  the  rectory  of  Boscombe;  see  John  Le  Neve,  Fasti 
Ecclesiae  Anglicanae,  ed.  T.  Duffus  Hardy  (Oxford,  1854),  1:273,  2:621,  and  624,  and 
the  new  University  of  London  edn.  for  1531-1857,  Vol.  6,  Salisbury  Diocese,  ed. 
Joyce  M.  Horn  (London:  Institute  of  Historical  Research,  1986),  p.  60. 

113  Sisson,  pp.  21-22,  25-26,  124-125,  and  145.  Hooker  also  spent  some  time  at 
Churchman's  country  house  in  Enfield,  Middlesex  (pp.  30,  46,  and  125—126). 
Hooker's  presence  in  Salisbury  for  his  installation  on  23  July  1591,  for  an  episcopal 
election  on  30  November,  and  to  preside  at  the  subdean's  court  on  1  December 
suggest  that,  between  his  institution  and  his  resignation  in  1595,  he  either  resided 
there  or  at  Boscombe  for  longer  or  shorter  periods  or  that  he  travelled  to  Salisbury 
from  time  to  time;  see  Chronology,  p.  xxiv,  above. 
Sisson,  pp.  25—28,  44  and  n.,  and  124-125. 

Edwin's  uncle,  Miles,  served  as  the  principal  officer  of  the  society  for  the 
unusually  long  term  from  1588  to  1596.  Four  of  Edwin's  brothers  and  five  of  his 
cousins,  sons  of  Miles,  were  also  admitted  to  the  Middle  Temple.  Edwin  was  admitted 
without  payment  of  the  usual  fee  "because  he  is  nephew  of  the  Treasurer";  Cranmer, 
admitted  on  the  same  occasion  and  bound  with  Edwin,  paid  three  pounds.  Miles'  sons 
and  years  of  admission:  Edwin,  1579;  William  and  Miles,  1584;  George  and  Henry, 
1594;  Archbishop  Edwin  Sandys'  sons:  Samuel,  1579;  Thomas,  1588;  Edwin,  1590; 
Henry,  1591;  and  George,  1596;  see  Hopwood,  Middle  Temple  Records,  1:230,  303, 
311-312,  318,  336,  365,  367,  and  368;  also  Herbert  A.  C.  Sturgess,  Register  of 
admissions  to  .  .  .  the  Middle  Temple,  from  the  fifteenth  century  to  .  .  .  1944  (London, 
1949),  1:45,  53,  60,  61,  65,  and  70;  Sturgess  does  not  distinguish  the  two  Edwins. 
The  entry  for  Edwin  and  George  Cranmer:  "12  Feb.,  .  .  .  Mr.  Edwin,  second  son  of 



Later  court  depositions  establish  that  Sandys,  who  entered  the 
Middle  Temple  in  1590,  himself  lived  the  better  part  of  three  to  five 
years  at  the  Churchman  house  beginning  in  1588,  and  that  he  was 
certainly  there  at  the  time  of  1 593  Parliament  and  the  publication  of 
the  Lawes.  The  depositions  paint  a  picture  of  a  hospitable  house- 
hold in  which  the  residents'  circles  of  friends  were  welcome:  "diverse 
of  [Sandys's]  Frends  that  did  many  tymes  come  thither  unto  him  and 
weare  entreated  to  dyne  or  supp  there  before  they  went."  Cran- 
mer,  Sandys's  companion  at  Oxford,  the  Temple,  and  in  later  Europe- 
an travels,  would  likely  have  been  a  frequent  guest  (see  n.  87,  above). 

Hooker  wrote  the  Lawes  at  the  Churchman  home,  and  Benjamin 
Pullen,  "the  man  that  wrote  owte  the  sd  Mr  Hokers  Bookes  faire," 


was  a  clerk  in  Churchman's  employ.  Household  conversation, 
involving  Sandys  as  well  as  the  family  and  such  visitors  as  Cranmer, 
would  naturally  have  included  some  discussion  of  Hooker's  progres- 
sing work.  The  surviving  critiques  demonstrate  that,  at  some  stage, 
Hooker  asked  his  two  former  students  for  more  serious  and  detailed 
involvement  in  the  Lawes.  In  Cranmer's  critique  of  Book  VI,  he 
referred  to  Sandys' judgment  on  Hooker's  "second  booke"  (3:121.30); 
he  also  reminded  Hooker  that  he  well  knew  "Mr  Sandes  mynd  and 
myne"  of  a  word  ("Th'aforesayd")  employed  in  the  draft  (3:116.28). 

Edwin  Sandis  archbishop  of  York,  deceased,  specially,  no  fine,  because  he  is  nephew 
of  the  Treasurer.  Bound  with  Mr.  Cranmer.  George  son  and  heir-apparent  of  Thomas 
Cranmer  of  Canterbury,  gent,  specially;  fine  3/"  (Hopwood,  1:312). 

Eveleigh  established  the  year  1588  as  the  beginning  of  Sandys's  "soujourne" 
with  the  Churchmans  (Sisson,  p.  140).  Phillip  Culme,  servant  to  Churchman  at  the 
time  of  Sandys's  residencies,  established  the  presence  of  both  Hooker  and  Sandys 
when  the  books  were  "sett  forth,"  identifying  periods  of  "two  yeares,"  a  "yeare  or 
thereabouts,"  and  after  a  time  in  Yorkshire,  "one  yeare  and  more"  (pp.  145  and  147); 
see  also  pp.  28—33,  131  (John  Churchman),  and  142  (interrogatory),  and  135  and  149 
(Robert  Churchman,  Joan's  brother).  Sandys  was  probably  not  in  London  for  the 
1586  Parliament;  although  the  son  of  the  archbishop  has  usually  been  considered  the 
Edwin  Sandys  elected  from  Andover,  Hasler  and  Harding  assign  the  seat  to  the  son  of 
Miles  Sandys,  who  bore  the  same  name  (77ie  House  of  Commons,  1558-1603,  pp.  339 
and  341). 

117  Sisson,  p.  150  (Robert  Churchman);  also  pp.  32-33  and  142;  and  147  (Culme). 

118  Sisson,  pp.  48,  130  (John  Churchman),  and  135  (Robert  Churchman). 


The  Preface 

The  comments  suggest  a  background  of  more  extended  critical  discus- 
sions and  written  commentaries  that  have  not  survived. 

Were  Cranmer's  and  Sandys's  contributions  to  the  inception  of  the 
Lawes  extensive  enough  to  describe  the  project  as  a  collaboration?  Or 
are  the  two  critiques  of  Cranmer  and  Sandys  simply  specimens  of  a 
wide  range  of  comments  that  Hooker  sought  and  received  as  well 
from  Rainolds  and  others?       Responding  later  to  a  suggestion  in  A 

Rainolds's  involvement  is  noted  above  (pp.  53—54).  The  possibility  of  Whit- 
gift's  is  circumstantial,  resting  on  his  role  as  archbishop,  his  previous  role  as  the 
principal  literary  opponent  of  the  Puritans,  his  support  of  Hooker  at  the  Temple, 
Hooker's  fulsome  dedication  of  Book  V  to  him,  and  the  likelihood  that  he  would 
have  put  his  library  at  Hooker's  disposal.  In  his  commentary  on  Book  V,  having 
consulted  sixteenth-century  volumes  in  the  archiepiscopal  Lambeth  Palace  Library 
cited  by  Hooker,  Bayne  identified  contemporary  underlining  of  relevant  passages  in 
three  volumes  (pp.  46,  85—86,  and  341),  four  such  volumes  with  Whitgift's  arms  (pp. 
85-86,  78,  308,  341,  and  556),  and  two  other  volumes  (pp.  85  and  531).  Although 
no  explicit  evidence  links  John  Spenser,  Rainolds's  successor  as  president  of  Corpus, 
with  Hooker  in  the  years  after  their  collegial  relationship  at  Corpus,  Spenser  was 
Hooker's  principal  literary  executor  (see  5:xiv— xvii),  responsible  for  the  publication  of 
the  Tractates  and  Sermons  and  preparing  the  introductory  address  "To  the  Reader" 
for  the  1604  edition  of  the  Lawes  (rpr.,  this  edn.,  1:346-348).  In  a  1615  posthumously 
published  sermon  of  Spenser,  the  editor,  Hamlett  Marshall,  "his  Minister  for  a  space 
of  five  yeares,"  indirectly  suggested  Spenser's  contributions  to  the  Lawes:  "he  had 
taken  extraordinary  paines,  together  with  a  most  judicious  and  complete  Divine,  .  .  . 
about  the  compiling  of  a  learned  and  profitable  worke  now  extant,  yet  would  hee  not 
be  moved  to  put  his  hand  to  it,  though  hee  has  a  speciall  hand  in  it,  and  therfore  it 
fell  out,  that  tulit  alter  honores  [another  took  the  honors]"  (A  Learned  and  Gracious 
Sermon  Preached  at  Paules  Crosse  (STC  23096),  fol.  3rv;  see  also  DNB,  s.v.  John 
Spenser).  If  the  comment  applies  to  Hooker,  the  implication  of  literary  piracy  may  be 
the  product  a  protege's  biased  loyalties,  but  consultations  in  the  production  of  the 
Lawes  could  well  underlie  the  information  on  which  Marshall  based  his  statement.  The 
sermon  itself  strikingly  parallels  Hooker's  essay  on  ecclesiology  in  III.  1.4—13  (1:196— 
204).  Another  possible  consultant  was  Robert  Some,  master  of  Peterhouse,  Cam- 
bridge, generally  identified  with  advanced  Protestant  causes,  who  attacked  Penry  for 
his  separatist  tendencies  and  was  in  turn  answered  by  both  Penry  and  Throckmorton 
(see  Collinson,  E.P.M.,  pp.  124  and  257;  STC  22908,  19604,  11909,  and  12342;  see 
also  2:107.8—  \2.g.n,  below);  in  his  notes  on  Book  VI,  Cranmer  comments:  "I  could 
wishe  for  more  perspicuity  (for  that  is  it  which  D.  Some  requireth  in  your  booke) 
.  . ."  (3:112.4—5).  The  Cranmer-Sandys  critique  of  Book  VI  is  analyzed  below,  pp. 
260-261,  267-270,  and  303-308. 



Christian  Letter,  the  anonymous  1599  attack  on  Books  I— V  of  the 
Lawes,  that  he  "peruse  [his  work]  advisedlie,"  Hooker  noted  in  the 

The  bookes  you  mention  have  bene  perused.  They  were  seen 
and  judged  of  before  they  came  abroad  to  the  open  view  of  the 
world. ...  As  learned  as  any  this  realme  hath  saw  them  and  red 
them  before  they  ever  came  to  your  hands.  (4:69.7,  15—19) 

The  congenial  atmosphere  of  the  Churchman  home  in  the  city  of 
commerce,  government,  legal  studies,  and  intellectual  ferment  pro- 
vided an  appropriate  setting  for  the  creation  of  a  treatise  that  would 
incorporate  in  a  single  argument  the  abstractions  of  what  we  would 
call  political  theory,  the  practical  public  issues  of  what  Hooker  called 
"politie,"  and  the  inward  yearnings  of  individual  believers  for  assur- 
ance and  "Certaintie  . . .  of  Faith." 

By  the  beginning  of  1593,  Richard  Hooker  had  progressed  far 
enough  in  his  work  to  begin  to  search  out  a  printer  to  publish  it.  His 
initial  efforts  were  discouraging,  for,  unless  subsidies  were  provided, 
"dyvers  Printers"  refused  to  undertake  the  project  because  "bookes  of 
that  Argument  and  on  that  parte  were  not  saleable."  Sandys, 
"who  was  then  daily  Conversant"  with  Hooker,  "at  length  fyshed 
owte  the  Cause  of  his  malencholy"  and  offered  to  print  the  book  "at 
his  owne  Charges."121  On  26  January  1593,  Sandys  and  the  printer 

120  In  the  1613  court  depositions,  Spenser  had  "credibly  herd"  of  such  results  of 
Hooker's  dealings  with  the  printers  (Sisson,  p.  134).  John  Bill,  a  stationer,  reported 
that  "dyvers  Stationers  dyd  refuze  to  printe  the  sd  bookes  at  their  Charges" — one  of 
the  most  prominent,  William  Norton,  expressly  "for  feare  of  losse"  (p.  132).  William 
Stansby,  the  printer  who  succeeded  to  Windet  and  who  printed  the  Lawes  in  1611, 
testified  that  he  had  heard  that  "some  dyd  denye  to  deale  with  printing  the  sd  bookes 
because  the  Charge  was  thought  to  be  to  greate"  (p.  137).  Eveleigh  reported  that 
printers  had  been  "fearfull"  of  the  venture  "for  that  the  bookes  of  a  reverent  man 
being  then  newly  printed  were  badly  soulde"  (p.  138),  whom  Sisson  identified  as  Dr. 
Henry  Smith  (pp.  51-52). 

121  See  Spenser's  1613  deposition  (Sisson,  p.  134).  Eveleigh  reported  that  Sandys 
undertook  the  charges  "principally  for  the  love  and  good  respect"  which  he  bore  to 
Hooker  (p.  138).  See  pp.  130  (John  Churchman),  134-135  (Robert  Churchman),  145 
(Culme);  also,  pp.  52—53. 


The  Preface 

John  Windet  signed  a  formal  agreement  for  the  publication  by  which 
Sandys  paid  the  expenses  of  printing  and,  in  turn,  received  ownership 
of  the  printed  copies  for  sale.  Sandys  and  Hooker  agreed  that 
Sandys,  in  addition  to  providing  Hooker  with  a  specified  number  of 
copies,  would  pay  him  "ten  pounds  for  the  fyrst  fower  bookes  . . . 
[and]  forty  pounds  for  the  fower  later  bookes."  (If  Sandys  intend- 
ed the  payments  to  reflect  the  length  of  the  works,  the  figures  suggest 
that  he  expected  Books  V— VIII  to  be  four  times  the  length  of  I— IV.) 
If  the  books  sold  well,  the  terms  appear  to  have  been  a  fair  investment 
for  Sandys,  but  the  printers  remained  dubious.  As  the  matter  turned 
out,  sales  were  slow,  and,  after  a  careful  financial  analysis,  Sisson 
judged  that  "Sandys  probably  did  little  more  than  at  best  to  balance 
his  account  upon  the  book"  (p.  78). 

Since  establishing  the  year  of  publication  of  the  first  volume, 
scholars  have  proposed  that  the  \  appearance  of  Hooker's  Lawes  was 
related  to  the  parliamentary  proceedings  of  1593.  As  they  relied  on 
the  judgment  that  it  was  Edwin  Sandys  who  took  an  active  role  in  the 
promotion  of  legislative  action  against  separatists,  the  connection 
appeared  thoroughly  reasonable  (see  n.  69,  above).  "Mr.  Sandes"  was 
a  member  of  the  committee  assigned  to  consider  the  original  govern- 
ment legislation  that  threatened  advanced  Protestant  recusants  as  well 
as  the  "papists"  identified  in  the  preamble  as  the  targets  of  the  propos- 
al. He  spoke  on  13  March  in  favor  of  the  original  form  of  the  bill 
that  would  not  have  limited  it  to  Roman  Catholic  recusants  (n.  68, 
above).  After  that  bill  died,  three  weeks  later  on  4  April  he  spoke 
again  to  the  new  bill  the  Lords  had  devised  and  Burghley  had  present- 
ed for  consideration,  the  "Bill  for  Explanation  of  a  Branch  of  a 
Statute"  that  had  originally  applied  only  to  Roman  Catholics.  He  was 

122  Sisson,  pp.  128  (interrogatory),  130  (John  Churchman),  132  (Spenser),  135 
(Robert  Churchman),  137  (Stansby),  139  (Eveleigh),  145  (Culme),  and  pp.  49-60; 
also,  l:xvi— xvii,  above. 

123  See  Eveleigh's  1613  deposition  (Sisson,  p.  139);  pp.  133-134  (Spenser)  and  140 

For  detailed  discussion,  see  Sisson,  pp.  53-60  and  66-78;  also,  l:xvi-xvii  and 
xx-xxii,  this  edn. 

D'Ewes,  p.  477. 



again  named  to  the  committee  to  whom  the  bill  was  committed,  and 
was  undoubtedly  involved  in  the  negotiations  that  led  to  the  careful 
distinction  between  openly  avowed  separatists  and  other  advanced 
Protestants.  Although  more  recent  scholarship  identifies  "Mr.  Sandes" 
as  Edwin's  uncle,  Miles  (n.  69),  the  link  between  the  publication  of 
the  Lawes  and  the  parliamentary  session  remains  firm.  The  records  of 
the  Middle  Temple  suggest  the  network  of  relationships  among  the 
members  of  the  Sandys  family  there,  and  the  terms  of  Miles  as  treasur- 
er (principal  officer)  of  the  Inn  and  Hooker  as  master  of  the  Temple 
overlapped  for  three  years.  Miles  and  Edwin  both  sat  in  the  1593 
House  of  Commons,  and  Miles's  championing  the  legislation  against 
Protestant  recusants  matches  the  concerns  of  the  Preface  and  body  of 
the  Lawes. 

The  first  volume  of  the  Lawes  attacked  the  claims  to  divine  sanction 
that  Puritans,  in  and  out  of  parliament,  claimed  for  their  platform. 
Chapter  8  of  the  Preface  spoke  directly  to  the  two-pronged  cause  that 
Miles  Sandys  was  championing  in  the  national  legislature.  First,  it 
identified  out-and-out  separatists  as  potentially  dangerous  to  the 
stability  of  English  society  as  the  Anabaptists  had  been  to  Munster, 
and,  consequently,  worthy  of  the  penal  measures  which  were  to 
emerge  from  the  current  parliamentary  sessions.  Second,  the  chapter 
placed  responsibility  for  the  growth  of  English  separatism  squarely  on 
the  shoulders  of  militant  Puritans,  providing  a  clear  case  for  the 
unsuccessful  proposals  urged  by  Whitgift  and  his  supporters  which 
might  be  employed  against  the  disciplinarians.  The  character  of  these 
issues  in  the  1593  Parliament  provides  a  most  reasonable  context  for 
the  otherwise  puzzling  statement  of  Hooker  in  the  concluding  chapter 

D'Ewes,  p.  517,  and  see  n.  115,  above.  The  second  speech  and  the  committee 
assignments  would  be  more  likely  to  have  been  held  by  the  member  active  in  the 
issue,  especially  for  one  in  favor  of  the  government  position.  Hasler  and  Harding 
consistently  credit  Miles,  and  not  Edwin,  with  these  roles  (The  House  of  Commons, 
1559—1603,  3:339—343).  Rabb  assumes  that  the  leave  of  absence  given  to  Miles  on  17 
March  meant  that  he  went  home  and  did  not  return  to  the  session;  if  so,  Edwin  must 
have  given  the  4  April  speech  and  served  on  the  committee.  Hasler  and  Harding, 
however,  conclude  that  Miles  did  return  (Rabb,  "Sandys,"  p.  24;  Hasler  and  Harding, 


The  Preface 

9  that  "with  us  contentions  are  now  at  their  highest  Jloate"  (§  4;  1:53.6).  If 
Lord  Burghley  read  the  Preface  in  his  presentation  copy,  it  would 
have  steeled  him  for  the  leading  role  he  played  in  promoting  the 
anti-Puritan  legislation  two  weeks  later  (see  n.  71,  above). 

Commenting  on  the  failure  of  one  pro-establishment  publication  to 
appear  in  time  for  the  parliamentary  session,  Morice  noted  that  it 
"should  have  bene  published  so  as  it  might  have  concurred  with  the  Par- 
liament,  as  many  other  concerninge  the  government  of  the  Churche." 
"Many  other"  would  certainly  include  the  Lawes,  and  if  Bilson's  work 
on  episcopacy  and  Bancroft's  two  1593  volumes  on  the  disciplinarian 
movement  had  appeared  in  time,  Morice  may  have  pointed  to  a  major 
thrust  by  establishment  supporters  to  provide  literary  support  for  their 
parliamentary  plans.  Sandys's  subsidy  ensured  that  Hooker's  work 
might  be  among  them. 

An  expectation  of  financial  success  seems  unlikely  to  have  played  a 
part  in  Sandys's  offer.  The  later  court  depositions  speak  only  of  his 
"love  and  respect"  for  Hooker,  or  as  another  put  it,  his  "much 
beholdinge  . . .  for  the  learninge  and  Instructions  that  he  . .  .  receaved 
from  and  by"  his  former  tutor.  Yet  the  investment  was  more 
than  a  personal  favor.  Sandys's  probable  role  in  concert  with  his  uncle 
in  parliament  is  consistent  with  his  critiques  of  Book  VI:  he  shared 
Hooker's  concern  to  defend  the  terms  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement 
equally  from  attacks  of  the  disciplinarians  and  the  separatists. 

One  of  the  interrogatories  in  the  1613  court  depositions  suggests  an 
official  interest  in  the  publication:  it  had  been  "hastened  by  such 
eminente  persons  whome  the  cause  did  moste  speciallie  concerne" 
(Sisson,  p.  145).  The  phrase  does  not  seem  to  describe  either  Cranmer 
or  Sandys.  Both  were  young  men  partly  engaged  in  their  law  studies, 

127  "A  Remembrance,"  pp.  132-133  (my  italics).  Morice  referred  to  a  new  and 
much  expanded  version  of  Richard  Cosin's  An  Apologie:  of  and  for  Sundrie  Proceedings 
(London,  1593;  STC  5821).  The  first  edition  (STC  5820)  had  appeared  two  years 
earlier  in  response  to  Morice's  own  A  Briefe  Treatise  ofOathes  Exacted  by  Ordinaries  and 
Ecclesiastical  Judges  ([Middelburg:  R.  Schilders,  1590?!,  STC  18106).  Morice  suggests 
that  his  parliamentary  speech  had  motivated  Cosin  to  produce  the  revision  "thoughe 
somewhat  to  late"  (p.  132). 

128  Sisson,  p.  151  (Robert  Churchman),  and  see  n.  121,  above. 



with  the  extended  tour  of  the  continent  still  ahead  of  them.  Cranmer, 
the  great-nephew  of  the  martyred  archbishop  of  Canterbury,  and 
Sandys  each  came  from  well-known  ecclesiastical  families,  but  their 
own  careers  were  just  beginning.  Already  familiar  with  Hooker's 
developing  treatise,  Sandys  and  Cranmer  were  surely  part  of  the 
London  circle  that  generated  a  concern  on  the  part  of  Whitgift  and 
other  "eminente  persons"  that  Hooker's  manuscript  essays  be  printed 
in  time  for  the  legislative  campaign.  In  the  winter  of  1592— 1593,  the 
urgings  of  Cranmer  for  the  particular  arguments  that  emerged  in  the 
addition  of  chapters  8  and  9  of  the  Preface  are  of  a  piece  with  the 
legislative  plans  being  laid  out  for  the  coming  parliamentary  session. 

Even  if  Hooker  had  himself  been  able  to  find  a  publisher  for  his 
work,  he  might  still  have  been  pressured  by  Sandys  and  others  to 
hasten  its  publication.  Yet  Sandys's  offer  made  him  beholden  in  a  way 
which  made  it  difficult  for  him  to  refuse  to  cooperate.  No  evidence 
reveals  the  extent  to  which,  if  at  all,  Hooker  regretted  the  the  awk- 
ward seam  between  chapters  7  and  8  and  the  misuse  of  the  Marprelate 
quotation  (see  n.  83,  above).  If  he  was  aware  of  them,  however,  and 
if  he  attributed  them  to  the  haste  with  which  he  was  forced  to  pro- 
duce the  volume,  it  may  have  made  him  determined  to  take  whatever 
time  was  required  to  bring  the  remaining  four  books  to  the  perfection 
he  envisioned  for  them. 

iv.  The  Preface:  Sources  and  Style 

While  the  Lawes  may  be  considered  a  timeless  classic,  its  Preface  is 
explicitly  a  piece  d'occasion.  Using  the  rhetorical  device  of  direct  address 
to  "them  that  seeke  .  .  .  reformation"  it  is  printed  in  italics  with  quota- 
tions in  roman  type,  typographically  the  reverse  of  the  body  of  the 
treatise.  Whether  the  contemporary  readers  were  the  Puritans  to 
whom  the  Preface  was  addressed,  the  supporters  of  the  establishment, 
the  undecided,  the  confused,  or  the  indifferent,  they  would  all  have 
had  some  first-hand  experience  of  the  issues  addressed  in  it,  and  most 
would  have  recognized  the  sources,  assumed  as  well  as  cited,  that 
underlay  the  text. 


The  Preface 

Hooker's  Use  of  Sources 

These  sources  fall  into  categories  typical  of  late  sixteenth-century 
theological  writings:  biblical,  classical,  patristic,  and  contemporary 
Protestant  (both  continental  and  English).  Missing  are  citations  of 
medieval  theologians,  of  contemporary  Roman  Catholics,  or  of  other 
English  writers  who  supported  the  church  as  established.  In  the  treatise 
proper  Hooker  often  cited  medieval  and  contemporary  Roman  Cath- 
olic writers.  His  omission  of  any  direct  citation  of  English  prede- 
cessors, however,  is  characteristic,  not  only  of  the  Preface,  but  of  the 
whole  work,  for  only  when  his  adversaries  claimed  an  English  Refor- 
mation authority  for  their  side  did  Hooker  explicitly  cite  and  treat  the 
earlier  text.  Yet  it  must  be  assumed  that  Hooker  was  aware  of  writings 
that  had  upheld  the  terms  of  the  settlement. 

The  Preface  echoes  anti-Puritan  arguments  that  others  had  already 
laid  down.  Later  in  1593  Richard  Bancroft  anonymously  set  forth 
two  books  which  were  the  fruit  of  the  investigations  of  the  Puritan 
network  by  the  Ecclesiastical  Commission  in  which  he  had  taken  a 
leading  role,  A  Survay  of  the  Pretended  Holy  Discipline  and  Daungerous 
Positions  and  Proceedings.       The  timing  of  their  publication  may  have 

129  Both  Bancroft  and  Matthew  Sutcliffe  (1550F-1629),  dean  of  Exeter,  had 
argued  that  the  disciplinarian  polity  originated  in  sixteenth-century  Geneva,  not 
first-century  Palestine.  Hooker  applied  the  same  ironical  adjective  "strange"  that 
Bancroft  had  employed  in  1589  to  describe  the  fifteen-hundred-year  gap  in  the 
church's  observance  of  a  presbyterial  discipline  that  Christ,  according  to  militant 
Puritans,  had  commanded  (Pref.  4.1;  1:21.23;  21.23-28.n  and  24.19-22.n).  The 
erroneous  application  of  the  Marprelate  quotation  may  have  had  its  origin  in  Hooker's 
misreading  of  that  same  sermon  (1:50.4-5. n).  Saravia  had  suggested  that  the  authority 
of  sixteenth-century  reformers  might  be  questioned  in  the  same  way  that  they  had  put 
down  patristic  authority:  they  were  "but  men"  (1:10. 7.n).  Hooker's  suggestion  that 
local  presbyteries  might  take  over  the  responsibilities  of  the  law  courts  had  been 
voiced  by  Thomas  Cooper  (1517?— 1594),  bishop  of  Winchester,  Dean  Sutcliffe,  and 
an  anonymous  third  author  (1:41. 20-26. n).  Cosin  and  Sutcliffe  had  both  argued,  as 
Cranmer  had  urged  Hooker,  that  the  advanced  Protestants  were  responsible  for  the 
emergence  of  the  separatists  (1:39.4— 5. r.n),  and  Sutcliffe  had  warned  of  dangers 
inherent  in  judicial  authority  exercised  by  inadequately  skilled  presbyteries  and  in 
changes  of  clerical  deployment  that  would  eliminate  university  privileges  (1:39.12- 
21.n  and  39.21-41. l.n). 

See  n.  35,  above.  Since  the  books  both  bear  the  date  1593,  they  would  have 
been  published  after  25  March,  and,  therefore,  after  the  Lawes. 



been  dictated,  as  Morice  hinted,  like  that  of  the  Lawes,  by  Whitgift's 
legislative  plans  (see  p.  61,  above).  There  are  parallels  in  the  interpre- 
tation of  Calvin's  reforms  in  Geneva.  Either  might  have  seen  the 
manuscripts  of  the  other  before  publication,  or  their  similarities  could 
derive  simply  from  their  common  involvement  in  discussions  among 
members  of  London  establishment  circles. 

Hooker's  text  is  saturated  as  well  with  quotations  or  citations  from 
Scripture.  Eleven  from  the  Old  Testament  and  thirty-one  from 
the  New  appear  in  the  Preface,  including  those  introduced  by  other 


writers.  Thirteen  other  passages  suggest  further  biblical  allusions. 
Hooker  used  the  more  popular  Geneva  Bible,  beloved  of  advanced 
Protestants,  rather  than  the  unevenly  prepared  Bishops'  version  au- 
thorized for  liturgical  readings.  His  Old  Testament  renderings  follow 
the  Geneva  version,  and  his  frequent  New  Testament  departures  from 
contemporary  translations  suggest  that  he  commonly  worked  directly 
with  the  Greek.  Hooker's  biblical  quotations  established  common 
ground  with  his  adversaries  and  lent  impeccable  authority  to  his 
arguments.  When  he  declared  that  "the  force  of  [one's]  owne  discretion" 
provides  the  natural  human  means  for  distinguishing  good  from  evil, 
the  New  Testament  provided  a  catena  of  four  passages  confirming  that 
both  Paul  and  Jesus  expected  their  readers  and  listeners  to  exercise 

131  They  interpret  in  similar  ways  the  course  of  Calvin's  reforms  in  Geneva  (see 
nn  to  1:6.31-7.1,  7.26-8.4.,  9.1-12,  10.10-13,  and  10.13-23).  In  one  instance 
Bancroft  and  Hooker  similarly  employ  the  same  set  of  biblical  quotations,  and,  in 
another,  they  cite  the  same  set  of  Puritan  passages  (l:2.12-15.n  and  50.5-7.n). 
Bancroft's  views  about  the  origins  of  separatists  and  the  disciplinarians'  threat  to  social 
stability  match  those  Hooker  set  forth  in  chapters  8  and  9  (nn  to  1:39.4-5  and  50.28- 
31;  also  nn  to  1:10.7,  11.35-12.5,  12.5-11,  18.15-17,  25.13-16,  and  50.31-51.7). 

132  On  Hooker's  use  of  the  Bible  in  his  Tractates  and  Sermons,  see  ISR,  5:851-909, 
this  edn.;  those  in  the  Lawes  are  collected  below,  pp.  1101-1156. 

133  See  references  in  the  ISR  below  at  1:2.12-15,  12.27-13.1,  18.27-28,  23.1, 
23.8-9,  27.5-6,  31.4-5,  31.12,  31.32,  32.5,  32.32-33.1,  39.28,  and  53.9-11. 

For  example,  in  the  lengthy  quotation  in  Pref.  6.2  from  Deut.  17:8-12  (1:30. 
11-25),  except  for  the  indicated  ellipsis  ("etc.")  and  an  omitted  "nether"  before  "to 
the  right  hand,"  Hooker  follows  the  GB.  In  Pref.  3.10,  his  translation  from 
evipyeiav  nX&vr\<;  as  "fraud"  differs  from  both  the  common  sixteenth-century 
translation  "strong  delusion"  and  from  the  Rheims's  literal  "operation  of  errour" 
(1:18.7).  In  Pref.  3.14,  his  rendering  of  ucopd  (or  stulta)  as  "simple"  differs  from  the 
"foolish  things"  of  the  contemporary  translations  (1:19.31). 


The  Preface 

their  God-given  power  ofjudgment  (Pref.  3.1;  1:12.24—13.5).  Biblical 
texts  provided  a  range  of  human  illustrations  that  linked  both  the 
sixteenth-century  reader  and  the  church  with  the  stories  they  judged 
to  be  vehicles  of  God's  special  revelation.  For  example,  in  urging 
would-be  reformers  to  accept  a  "definitive  sentence"  in  any  future 
disputation  over  church  polity,  Hooker  drew  on  precedents  from 
ancient  Israel  and  the  apostolic  church  (6.2;  1:30.10—31). 

The  Old  Testament  texts  span  the  whole  body  of  the  Hebrew 
Scriptures,  including  the  Pentateuch  and  both  prophetic  and  wisdom 
literature.  Three  quotations  are  from  the  Apocrypha,  which,  in  spite 
of  Puritan  protests,  "we  read  in  our  Churches  . . .  yeat  as  the  scripture 
we  read  them  not."  The  New  Testament  texts  are  more  concen- 
trated; the  epistles  of  St.  Paul,  the  Pauline  pastoral  epistles  (1  and  2 
Timothy  and  Titus),  and  those  of  James,  Peter,  John,  and  Jude 
account  for  three-quarters  of  the  texts  quoted  and  cited  by  Hooker, 
although  these  books  represent  less  than  a  third  of  the  New  Testament 
text.  Only  Matthew  and  Luke  are  included  in  the  four  Gospel  refer- 
ences. There  are  three  uses  of  Acts;  Hebrews  and  Revelation  do  not 
appear.  (Not  included  in  the  figures  above  are  the  four  instances  in 
which  New  Testament  texts  are  determined  by  sources  cited  by 
Hooker.)  The  practical  issues  of  church  life  on  which  the  Preface 
centered  dictated  the  selection  of  material  describing  church  life  in  the 
years  after  the  death  of  Jesus. 

Although  references  to  pagan  authors,  especially  Aristotle,  are 
prominent  in  Book  I,  in  the  Preface  Hooker  refers  directly  on  only 
four  occasions  to  classical  works.  His  fourteen  references  to  patris- 
tic works  from  five  Greek  and  four  Latin  authors  testify  to  his  famil- 
iarity with  the  writings  of  the  early  Christian  Fathers  that  continental 
scholars  and  printers  had  made  available  by  the  end  of  the  sixteenth 



135  V.20.10;  2:80.11-13;  the  quotations  are  at  Pref.  3.14  and  8.3;  1:20.1,  39.24 
and  26. 

Modern  biblical  critics  distinguish  these  letters,  as  well  as  Hebrews,  from  the 
rest  of  the  Pauline  corpus,  and  most  would  assign  authorship  to  a  later  writer. 

Twice  to  Galen,  and  once  each  to  Aristotle  and  to  the  Hermetic  corpus;  he 
alludes  to  Cicero  and  Plutarch.  See  Pref.  2.3;  3.2,  9,  and  14;  and  4.8  (1:6.9;  13.18-23, 
16.12-16,  and  20.2-3;  and  26.7-9). 

He  may  have  referred  to  the  Greek  texts  of  Clement  of  Alexandria  and  of  the 



Nearly  all  the  citations  of  continental  Protestant  writers  in  the 
Preface  provide  documentation  to  the  historical  narratives  of  Geneva 
and  the  Anabaptists  in  chapters  2  and  8.  In  Hooker's  account  of  the 
development  of  Genevan  presbyterian  polity,  he  claimed  that  he  had 
"collected"  his  narration  out  of  the  "bookes  and  writinges"  of  the 
Genevan  "learned  guides  and  Pastors"  themselves  (Pref.  2.7;  1:9.29— 
10.3).  These  boil  down  to  only  one  source:  Calvin's  collected  letters, 
a  volume  which  included  letters  to  and  from  his  Genevan  associates 
and  Beza's  biography  of  Calvin  prefixed  to  the  collection  (1:3.31— 
32.n).  All  the  specific  information  in  Hooker's  narration  could  have 
been  drawn  from  this  source. 

Hooker's  treament  of  Calvin  and  the  Genevan  reforms  in  the 
Preface  have  been  variously  judged.  The  author(s)  of  A  Christian  Letter 
were  offended  that  Hooker  made  "choyse  of  that  worthie  pillar  of  the 
church  above  all  other,  to  traduce  him  and  to  make  him  a  spectacle" 
(4:57.13-15).  W.  D.J.  Cargill  Thompson  concluded  that  Hooker  had 
used  "smear  tactics"  in  a  "calculated  piece  of  misrepresentation." 

historians  Eusebius  and  Socrates,  but  only  a  Latin  translation  for  the  selection  from 
John  Chrysostom  was  available  at  the  time.  Although  elsewhere  in  the  Lawes  he 
clearly  used  the  Greek  text  of  Gregory  of  Nazianzus,  he  seems  to  have  used  a  Latin 
translation  in  the  two  quotations  in  the  Preface;  see  Pref.  3.2,  4.2  and  4,  and  9.3 
(1:13.29-14.7;  22.12-16,  16-19,  and  19-22;  24.i;  and  52.18-53.5).  The  Latin  authors 
included  six  different  works  from  the  widely  quoted  and  available  texts  of  Tertullian 
(2)  and  Augustine  (2),  the  principal  work  of  Lactantius,  and  the  Odavius  of  Minutius 
Felix,  preserved  as  part  of  the  work  of  Arnobius;  see  Pref.  3.2  and  15  and  4.4  (1:13.9— 
12,  20.10-25  and  n.  z,  24.1-2,  and  nn.  g,  h,  and  i).  Hooker  makes  a  third  reference 
to  Augustine  in  using  the  example  of  his  book,  Retractions,  by  title  (9.2;  1:52.3-6). 
The  references  to  Clement  of  Alexandria  and  the  two  historians  appeared  in  a  passage 
from  Cartwright  to  which  Hooker  was  responding.  On  Hooker's  use  of  patristic  liter- 
ature, see  John  K.  Luoma,  "Who  Owns  the  Fathers?  Hooker  and  Cartwright  on  the 
Authority  of  the  Primitive  Church,"  Sixteenth  Century  Journal,  8  (1977):  45-59;  and 
William  P.  Haugaard,  "Renaissance  Patristic  Scholarship  and  Theology  in  Sixteenth- 
Century  England,"  ibid.,  10  (1979):  37-60. 

139  ..-r/kg  philosopher  of  the  'Politic  Society':  Richard  Hooker  as  a  Political 
Thinker,"  S.R.H.  (1972),  pp.  14-15;  rpr.,  Studies  in  the  Reformation  (1980),  pp.  131- 
191.  In  a  rejoinder,  P.  D.  L.  Avis  asserted  that  Hooker  attempted  to  make  "an 
impartial  evaluation  of  an  episode  in  recent  history,"  and  Richard  Bauckham  respond- 
ed that  although  "impartiality  hardly  describes"  Hooker's  procedure,  he  "probably 
believed"  his  explanation  of  the  origin  and  influence  of  Calvin's  discipline;  see  pp.  19, 


The  Preface 

Clearly  the  principal  purpose  of  chapter  2  was  to  show  that  the 
presbyterian  polity  had  its  origin,  as  Bridges,  Bancroft,  and  Saravia  had 
already  argued,  in  Calvin's  Geneva  and  that,  as  Bancroft  also  argued  in 
his  Survay  (pp.  22—23),  Calvin  was  guided  more  by  the  present  cir- 
cumstances of  the  city  than  by  his  understanding  of  the  apostolic 
church.  Modern  Calvin  scholarship  would  agree  that  Calvin  conceived 
his  polity  "in  close  connection  with  the  pastoral  needs  of  the  Genevan 

Although  "smear  tactics"  overstates  the  character  of  Hooker's 
polemic,  he  did  ignore  the  possibility  of  a  theological  dialogue  be- 
tween Calvin's  reading  of  the  New  Testament  and  the  needs  of  a 
Reformed  Geneva.  And  Bancroft  emphasized,  as  Hooker  had  not,  that 
it  was  Calvin's  followers,  rather  than  Calvin  himself,  who  insisted  on 
conformity  to  the  Genevan  discipline  (10.13-23.n).  Hooker  under- 
lined the  advantage  "of  glorie"  to  those  who,  following  Calvin,  "con- 
sented" to  the  Genevan  discipline,  commenting  that  its  founder  in  his 
writings  had  never  omitted  "the  least  occasion  of  extolling  the  use  and 
singuler  necessitie  thereof"  (2.8;  1:10.33-11.4).  Extracting  the  events  of 
Genevan  reforms  more  or  less  accurately  from  his  sources,  Hooker 
attributed  motives  to  continental  Reformers  that  were,  at  best,  shrewd 
guesses,  not  judgments  clearly  demanded  by  the  evidence  at  hand. 
A  modern  historian  cannot  refute  these  simplified  hypotheses,  as  they 
rest  on  interpretation  not  evidence.  But  the  author(s)  of  A  Christian 
Letter  were  quite  justified  in  questioning  the  "might  lead  and  may  bees" 
of  Hooker's  narrative  (4:60.14-15),  and  the  motivations  he  attributes 
to  the  Genevans  assuredly  fulfill  his  polemical  purpose  in  proving  that 

27,  and  31-32  from  Avis,  "Richard  Hooker  and  John  Calvin,"  pp.  19—28,  and 
Bauckham,  "Richard  Hooker  and  John  Calvin:  a  Comment,"  Journal  of  Ecclesiastical 
History,  12.1  (1981):  29-33;  also,  Avis,  Anglicanism  and  the  Christian  Church  (Minne- 
apolis: Fortress  Press,  1989),  pp.  53-57. 

Avis,  "Hooker  and  Calvin,"  p.  27.  Harro  Hopfl  summarizes  Calvin's  "rounded 
scheme  of  ecclesiastical  polity":  by  1542,  he  had  formulated  it  as  "the  digest  of  his 
pastoral  experience  at  Geneva  and  Strasbourg  as  mediated  by  reflection  upon  Scripture 
and  discussion  with  the  leading  evangelical  theologians  and  organizers  of  his  day;  had 
buttressed  it  by  scriptural  legitimation;  and  had  rendered  it  more  or  less  coherent  with 
the  guiding  themes  of  his  theology";  The  Christian  Polity  of  John  Calvin  (Cambridge: 
The  University  Press,  1982),  p.  128. 
141  See  l:10.10-13.n,  below. 



what  "Calvin  did  for  establishment  of  his  discipline,  seemeth  more  commend- 
able then  that  which  he  taught  for  the  countenancing  of  it  established"  (§  7; 

While  Hooker  is  clear  in  his  judgment  of  the  reforms  Calvin  in- 
stituted in  Geneva,  he  is  much  more  guarded  in  his  judgment  of  Cal- 
vin as  a  theologian.  His  statements  in  the  Preface  are  all  touched  with 
irony.  Calvin  was  "incomparably  the  wisest  man  that  ever  thefrench  Church 
did  enjoy"  but  only  "since  the  home  [1536]  it  enjoyed  him."  He  gained 
his  divine  knowledge  "not  by  hearing  or  reading  so  much,  as  by  teaching 
others";  "thousands  were  debters  to  him,  .  .  .  yet  he  to  none  but  onely  to 
God"  (2.1;  1:3.13—18).  Calvin  was  a  man  of  "great  capacitie"  but  he 
used  it  to  find  in  Scripture  evidence  that  "divine  authority  . . .  [was] 
somewhat  inclinable"  to  the  discipline  he  had  established  (§  7;  1:10.13— 
17).  Calvin  "  deservedly  procured  .  .  .  honour  throughout  the  worlde"  for  two 
achievements,  the  "Institutions  of  Christian  religion"  and  his  "exposition 
of  holy  Scripture"  but  the  latter  was  expressly  designed  to  undergird  the 
former  (§  8;  1:10.28—34).  Calvin  had  won  the  same  credit  in  the  Re- 
formed churches  that  Peter  Lombard  had  had  in  the  Roman  church, 
but  the  compliment  was  a  mixed  one,  given  the  widespread  Protestant 
repudiation  of  a  theology  based  on  the  Sentences  (§  8;  1:11.5—8). 

What  is  not  at  all  ambiguous  is  Hooker's  repudiation  of  the  singular 
authority  with  which  Calvin  had  been  endowed  by  many  within  the 
Reformed  tradition. 

The  perfectest  divines  were  judged  they,  which  were  skilfullest  in  Calvins 
writinges.  His  bookes  almost  the  very  canon  to  judge  both  doctrine  and 
discipline  by.  French  Churches  ...  all  cast  according  unto  that  mould 
....  The  Church  of  Scotlande  .  .  .  tooke  the  selfe  same  pateme.  (§  8; 

Among  some  the  adulation  passed  all  measure.  Responding  to  the 
protests  of  A  Christian  Letter  to  this  chapter,  Hooker  jotted  in  his 
copy:  "Safer  to  discuss  all  the  saincts  in  heaven  then  M.  Calvin" 
(4:57. 30). 142  It  was  against  this  background  that  Hooker  summed  up 

For  other  such  spontaneous  comments  about  Calvin,  see  4:3.7—14,  55.4—6, 
55.15-12,  57.30-58.6,  58.30-59.10,  60.8-10,  and  67.11-15,  this  edn. 


The  Preface 

his  judgment  of  Calvin  as  a  theologian:  "wise  men  are  men,  and  the  truth 
is  truth"  (§  7;  1:10.7).  Although  Whitgift  quoted  Calvin  extensively  as 
an  authority  and  predicted  that  were  Calvin  alive  in  England  he 
"would  utterly  condemn"  disciplinarian  efforts,  he  too  had  written:  "I 
use  M.   Caluines  judgment,  as  I  use  the  judgement  of  other  learned 



To  what  extent  did  Hooker  owe  his  own  theological  formation  to 
Calvin?  With  Cole  as  president  and  Rainolds  as  his  friend  and  proba- 
ble tutor  at  Corpus,  Hooker  would  have  read  Calvin  diligently. 
In  the  Commentary  to  Hooker's  Tractates  and  Sermons  in  volume  5  of 
this  edition,  Egil  Grislis  argues  persuasively  that  Calvin  stands  along- 
side Augustine  and  Thomas  Aquinas  as  one  of  Hooker's  primary  men- 
tors. However,  on  those  issues  of  sixteenth-century  debate  in 
which  Hooker  can  be  identified  as  agreeing  with  him,  a  range  of 
significant  writers  of  Reformed  persuasion,  both  English  and  conti- 
nental, could  equally  have  supplied  Hooker's  theological  armatorium. 

In  spite  of  the  failure  of  Prayer  Book  and  Articles  to  embrace  an 
unequivocally  Reformed  stance,  "Calvinism"  was  regarded  by  friend 
and  foe  alike  of  the  Elizabethan  church  as  constituting  its  ortho- 
doxy.      As  early  as  his  Paul's  Cross  sermon,  Hooker  took  issue  with 

See  The  Defense  of  the  Aunswere  to  the  Admonition,  against  the  Replie  of  T.  C. 
(1574),  2.4,  "The  opinion  of  M.  Calvin  of  things  indifferent,"  p.  113;  rpr.  as  The 
Works  of  John  Whitgift,  PS  (1851-53),  1:251.  Whitgift  also  wrote:  "I  reverence  Master 
Calvin  as  a  singular  man,  and  worthy  instrument  in  Christes  Churche:  but  I  am  not  so 
wholly  addicted  unto  him,  that  I  will  contemne  other  mens  judgements  that  in  divers 
poyntes  agree  not  fully  with  him,  especially  in  the  interpretation  of  some  places  of  the 
Scripture,  when  as  in  my  opinion  they  come  nearer  to  the  true  meaning  and  sense  in 
those  poyntes,  than  he  dothe";  Defense,  p.  201  (PS,  1:436).  See  n.  152,  below. 

Walton  noted  that  Rainolds  was  "said  to  be"  Hooker's  tutor.  An  extract  of  a 
letter  of  Rainolds  has  been  preserved  in  which  he  directs  a  student  to  "travaile 
painfully  in  Calvin's  Institution  of  Christian  Religion"  (Keble,  1:11  and  n). 

Grislis,  "Introduction  to  the  Commentary,"  §  ii  (5:630-634)  and  passim;  see 
also  4:xli— xliii,  where  Booty  concludes  that  Hooker's  attitude  towards  Calvin  in  his 
later  writings  is  consistent  with  that  expressed  in  the  Preface:  "he  both  revered  Calvin 
and  viewed  him  as  a  danger"  (4:xli). 

Although  Nicholas  Tyacke  has  demonstrated  the  dominant  role  of  Calvinist 
teaching  in  the  later  sixteenth  and  early  seventeenth  centuries,  his  statement  that 
"Calvinism  was  the  de  facto  religion  of  the  Church  of  England  under  Queen  Eliza- 



what  Travers  judged  to  be  the  Calvinist  orthodoxy  of  "all  the  church- 
es professing  the  gospell."  Although  he  did  not  accord  Calvin  the 
same  degree  of  theological  authority  that  Whitgift  did,  Hooker  could 
sincerely  deem  Calvin  "wise,"  "of  great  capacity,"  and  "deserving  of 
honors,"  just  as  he  might  so  have  judged  several  dozen  other  theolo- 
gians of  past  or  present  ages.  In  light  of  the  infallibility  accorded 
Calvin's  writings  by  some  of  Hooker's  compatriots,  he  qualified  his 
words  of  praise  as  a  reminder  that  Calvin's  theological  acumen,  like 
that  of  other  able  divines,  had  its  limitations. 

Just  as  Hooker  based  his  account  of  Geneva  on  one  book,  so  he 
drew  his  narrative  of  the  Anabaptists  from  a  single  source:  La  Racine, 
Source  et  Fondement  des  Attabaptistes  .  .  .  d e  nostre  Temps  by  Guy  de  Bres 
(1522—1567),  a  Reformed  Belgian  pastor  who  had  spent  four  years 
exile  in  England  under  Edward  VI  and  who  was  killed  by  troops  of 
the  Spanish  crown.  He  was  principal  author  of  the  Belgic  Confession, 
which  explicitly  expressed  detestation  of  "the  error  of  the  Anabaptists 
and  other  seditious  people"  and  was  one  of  the  few  Reformed  confes- 
sions of  faith  to  include  "discipline"  as  an  essential  mark  of  the 
church.  De  Bres's  impeccable  credentials  as  martyr  and  orthodox 
Calvinist  made  him  an  ideal  authority  for  Hooker  to  cite  in  addressing 
England's  own  advanced  Protestants,  and  his  citations  are  drawn  from 
all  parts  of  the  nine-hundred  page  volume  (1:42. 26-49. 30. d.n). 

It  has  been  justly  observed  that  until  recent  years,  "anabaptist 
historiography  was  . . .  the  privilege  of  its  enemies."      Both  Hooker 

beth"  needs  qualification  in  the  light  of  the  nurturing  consequences  of  the  de  jure 
formularies.  H.  C.  Porter's  contention  that  "the  story  of  the  theology  of  the  Elizabe- 
than Church  .  .  .  was  that  of  a  debate,  and  not  of  an  unchallenged  Calvinist  oration" 
is  still  valid.  See,  respectively,  Anti-Calvinists:  The  Rise  of  English  Arminianism,  c.  1590- 
1640  (Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1987),  p.  7,  and  Reformation  and  Reaction  in  Tudor 
Cambridge  (1958;  rpr.  1972),  p.  287.  And  see  pp.  2-7,  above. 


Travers  s  Supplication,  5:198.16-17;  see  above,  p.  51,  n.  102,  above.  For  a 
discussion  of  Hooker's  views  of  predestination  as  developed  in  the  Lawes  and  later,  see 
4:xxxv-xliv,  this  edn.,  and  Lake,  Anglicans  and  Puritans?,  pp.  182-197. 

E.  M.  Braekman,  Guy  de  Bres,  Premiere  Partie:  Sa  Vie  (Brussels:  Librairie  des 
Eclaireurs  Unionistes,  1960),  pp.  43-44,  61,  and  159;  Philip  Schaff,  The  Creeds  of 
Christendom,  (New  York,  1877),  3:419  and  433. 

The  Mennonite  Encyclopedia  (Scottdale,  Penn.:  Mennonite  Publishing  House, 


The  Preface 

and  his  disciplinarian  opponent  Thomas  Cartwright  stand  in  the 
tradition  of  English  reformers  from  the  days  of  Henry  VIII,  in  compa- 
ny with  Jewel,  Whitgift,  and  Bancroft,  when  they  employ  the  epithet 
as  an  accepted  calumny  (1:42.15— 49.30.n).  Stressing  the  parallel  with 
the  disciplinarians,  Hooker  highlights  the  element  of  "discipline"  as  an 
Anabaptist  objective,  showing  how  the  innocent  beginnings  culminat- 
ed in  sinister  outcomes. 

Throughout  the  Lawes  Hooker  cites  and  quotes  from  the  writings 
of  his  Puritan  opponents,  and  whether  cited  or  not,  such  writings 
form  the  background  of  his  arguments.  The  Commentary  below 
sometimes  suggests  this  silent  background  material,  but  these  notes  are 
by  no  means  exhaustive.  Among  seven  of  their  publications  cited 
in  the  Preface,  Cartwright's  was  the  most  significant,  and  throughout 
the  Lawes,  "T.  C."  was  to  appear  more  frequently  than  any  other 
Puritan  writer.  The  engagement  between  Cartwright  and  Whitgift, 
which  the  latter  had  begun  with  his  Answere  to  the  1572  Admonition 
to  the  Parliament,  had  provided  the  most  sustained  literary  debate  over 
the  issues  raised  by  the  Puritans.      In  many  cases  Hooker's  citations  of 

1955-1959),  2:751.  On  Anabaptist  history,  see  George  H.  Williams,  The  Radical 
Reformation  (Philadelphia:  Westminster  Press,  1962),  and  the  essays  in  The  Anabaptists 
and  Thomas  Miintzer,  ed.  J.  M.  Stayer  and  W.  O.  Packull  (Dubuque  and  Toronto: 
Kendall/Hunt,  1980). 

150  Pref.  8.8,  9,  and  12  (1:46.14-19,  46.26-47.4,  and  49.2-30). 

151  See,  for  example,  nn  to  1:27.11-13,  39.21-41.1,  and  50.5-7.  In  the  Preface 
Hooker  explicitly  cited  nine  significant  Puritan  publications,  including  the  Admonitions 
(2)  and  those  by  Cartwright  (4),  Dudley  Fenner,  Udall,  Marprelate,  and  three 
anonymous  works,  A  Briefe  Discovery  of  the  Untruthes  and  Slanders  contained  in  Bancroft's 
1589  sermon,  A  Petition  Directed  to  her  Most  Excellent  Majestie  (3),  and  An  Humble 
Motion  .  .  .  unto  .  .  .  [the]  Print  Counsell  (2);  see  nn  to  1:12:5-11  and  11-12,  15.2-5.r, 
16.25-17.8,  22.8-23.fc,  23.22-24,  26.25-28.fe,  33.33-34.3,  37.19-22.M,  41.1-14.y  and 
20-26.*,  41.31-42.4.6,  and  50.4-5.r  and  7-12.5. 

(1)  Anonymous  [John  Field  and  Thomas  Wilcox],  An  Admonition  to  the 
Parliament  (1572),  STC  10847-49;  (2)  Whitgift,  An  Answere  to  a  certen  libel  intituled,  An 
admonition  (1572),  STC  25427;  (3)  T.  C.  [Thomas  Cartwright],  A  Replye  to  An 
Answere  made  of  M.  doctor  Whitgifte  (1573),  STC  4711-12,  "T.C.  lib.  1"  in  Hooker's 
marginal  notes;  (4)  Whitgift,  The  Defense  of  the  Aunswere  to  the  Admonition,  against  the 
Replie  ofT.  C.  (1574),  STC  24530;  (5)  Cartwright,  The  Second  Replie  of  Thomas  Cart- 
wright: agaynst  maister  Whitgiftes  second  Answer  (1575),   STC  4714,   "T.C.  lib.   2"; 



Cartwright  can  only  be  understood  by  tracing  the  arguments  back 
through  the  necessary  layers  to  the  Admonition  itself.  Missing  in 
the  Preface  is  any  explicit  reference  to  Travers,  Hooker's  opponent  at 
the  Temple.  Hooker's  target  in  the  Lawes  was  not  one  writer,  but  the 
movement  to  whom  the  Preface  is  addressed,  and  his  topics  deter- 
mined the  works  he  engaged. 

The  Character  of  the  Polemics 

Two  series  of  exchanges — between  Jewel  and  Thomas  Harding 
(1516—1572)  and  between  Whitgift  and  Cartwright — had  produced 
the  most  significant  Elizabethan  theological  polemic  before  Hook- 
er. In  both,  an  initial  thrust  called  forth  a  response  which,  in 
turn,  evoked  a  rejoinder,  and  the  alternation  of  continued  literary 
argumentation  focused  more  and  more  on  massively  detailed  analyses 
of  details  of  the  opponent's  text  and  citations,  section  by  section:  the 
pattern  essentially  replicated  that  of  a  medieval  quaestio  et  responsio. 
Even  in  the  sixteenth  century,  the  reading  of  these  works  would  have 
been  wearisome,  and  as  for  subsequent  generations,  none  of  the  works 
were  republished  until  nineteenth-century  historical  studies  and 
theological  debates  prompted  a  return  to  source  materials  for  a  more 
accurate  interpretation  of  Reformation  history. 

In  the  course  of  the  Lawes,  Hooker  retraced  many  of  the  same 
issues  that  Whitgift  had  debated  with  Cartwright.  His  debt  to  the 

(6)  Cartwright,  The  Rest  of  the  Second  Replie  of  Thomas  Cartwright:  agaynst  Master 
Whitgifts  second  Answer  (1577),  STC  4715  ("T.C.  lib.  3**).  (1)  is  rpr.  in  W.  H.  Frere 
and  C.  E.  Douglas,  eds.,  Puritan  Manifestoes  (1907;  rpr.  London,  1954;  hereafter, 
P.M.),  pp.  5—19,  with  accompanying  "A  View  of  Popishe  Abuses"  and  appended 
letters  (pp.  20-55).  Nearly  all  of  (1),  (2),  and  (3)  are  reproduced  in  (4),  and  (4)  is  rpr. 
in  Whitgift,  Works.  The  editor  of  the  latter  also  includes  in  notes  some,  but  by  no 
means  all,  relevant  passages  from  (5)  and  (6). 

See,  for  example,  1:22.8— 23. b.n  and  33.33— 34.3.n;  and  see  illustrations  5—8, 
pp.  384-391,  below. 

See  n.  152  above  on  the  /JdmomrtoM-Whitgift-Cartwright  series  and  1:171.1  A 
and  171. 2—4. n  on  the  two  Jewel-Harding  debates  begun  by  Jewel's  challenge  sermon 
and  Apologia. 


The  Preface 

archbishop  is  patent,  but  the  context  is  sufficiently  different  to  alter 
the  perspective.  The  author(s)  of  A  Christian  Letter  complained  that, 
whereas  Whitgift  gave  sensible  answers  and  citations  that  could  be 
directly  applied  so  that  the  reader  might  "beare  away  what  hee  saith 
and  what  hee  intendeth,"  in  Hooker,  "wee  are  mightely  incombred; 
we  walke  as  in  a  labyrinth,  and  are  suddenlie  overwhelmed  as  in  the 
deepe  sea"  (4:73.6—19).  Nonetheless,  had  Hooker  not  adopted  a 
polemical  style  distinct  from  that  of  Jewel  and  Whitgift,  it  is  difficult 
to  imagine  that  an  interest  in  the  Lawes  would  have  survived  the 
sixteenth  century. 

Hooker's  treatise  effectively  deploys  the  sophisticated  resources  of 
classical  rhetoric.  The  structure  of  the  Preface  itself  (its  dispositio) 
reflects  Hooker's  grounding  in  the  rhetorical  studies  that  formed  an 
essential  part  of  the  university  curriculum.  By  addressing  the  reformers 
in  the  second  person  with  italics  throughout,  Hooker  emphasizes  its 
persuasive  character.  The  rhetorical  mode  is  deliberative  rather  than 
judicial  or  demonstrative;  he  is  concerned,  in  terms  of  the  categories 
of  Aristotle,  "to  establish  that  a  course  of  action  will  be  expedient  for 
the  audience,  or  at  least  not  harmful  to  it":  "For  the  ecclesiasticall 
lawes  of  this  land,  we  are  led  by  great  reason  to  observe  them,  and  yee  by  no 
necessitie  bound  to  impugne  them"  (Pref.  7.1;  1:34.16—18). 

Both  ancient  classical  and  Renaissance  writers  laid  down  infinite 
variations  in  the  structural  shape  of  an  oration,  but  a  traditional  pattern 
following  Cicero's  six  parts  can  be  discerned  in  the  first  seven  chapters 
of  the  Preface.  The  exordium,  chapter  1,  seeks  to  make  the  reader 
"well-disposed  to  the  speaker,  attentive,  and  receptive."  As  Hooker 
says,  he  "desireth  even  to  embrace  together  with  you  the  selfe  same  truth"  (§ 
3,  1:3.3—4).  The  narration,  chapter  2,  in  its  description  of  the  Genev- 
an origins  of  the  discipline,  is  an  appropriate  "digression  extra  causam" 
which  strikes  at  a  central  conviction  of  Hooker's  opponents.  The 
confirmation,   chapters  3  and  4,   concerned  with  the  attributes  of 

See  also  P.  E.  Forte,  "Hooker  as  Preacher,"  5:657-682,  this  edn. 

George  A.  Kennedy,  Classical  Rhetoric  and  its  Christian  and  Secular  Tradition  from 
Ancient  to  Modem  Times  (Chapel  Hill:  University  of  North  Carolina  Press,  1980),  p. 



persons,  secures  "credence,  authority,  and  strength"  for  Hooker's  case, 
describing  how  both  "many  of  the  people"  and  "the  learneder  sort"  are 
drawn  to  the  discipline  (1:12.22  and  21.10).  The  refutation,  chapters 
5  and  6,  demonstrates  that  "the  form  of  [the  Puritans']  argument  is 
invalid":  "A  lawe  is  the  deed  of  the  whole  bodie  politike  .  .  .  even  your  deed 
also"  (5.2;  1:27.33—28.2).  Therefore,  the  Puritans  either  at  present  or 
in  a  future  disputation  are  bound  to  obey  that  which  is  established  by 
"publique  consent  of  the  whole"  (6.6;  1:34.4).  Finally,  the  peroration, 
chapter  7,  summarizes  the  intention  of  his  "whole  endevor"  as  con- 
tained both  in  the  previous  chapters  and  in  the  ensuing  treatise  (§  1; 
1:34.20).  The  partition,  Cicero's  sixth  part  (a  "brief,  complete,  and 
concise"  statement  of  the  issues  in  dispute),  normally  placed  between 
the  narration  and  refutation,  is  not  given  a  separate  place  by  Hooker, 
but  contained  in  introductory  exordium  and  concluding  peroration 

The  addendum  to  the  Preface  in  chapter  8  would  fall  into  the 
category  of  additional  material  for  the  confirmation,  and  chapter  9 
represents  Hooker's  attempt  to  enclose  this  new  material  within  an 
appropriate  peroration.  Rhetorical  analysis  simply  confirms  the  obser- 
vation from  the  sense  of  the  argument  that  chapter  7  was  designed  to 
conclude  the  preceding  discussion. 

The  effectiveness  of  Hooker's  polemic  owes  much  to  the  organiza- 
tion and  sentence  configuration  of  its  carefully  crafted  prose  style.  The 
structure  of  the  prose,  as  Georges  Edelen  has  suggested,  imparts  a 
"syntactical  distance"  characterizing  Hooker's  writing  that 

can  be  defined  as  an  emphasizing  of  larger  structural  patterns  in 
place  of  individual  elements.  The  syntactical  whole  is  more  im- 
portant than  the  parts,  or,  more  accurately,  the  parts  are  signifi- 
cant only  as  they  contribute  to  the  whole. 

The  descriptions  of  Cicero's  parts  are  taken  from  Kennedy,  pp.  92-95.  The 
application  of  a  particular  set  of  categories  to  the  Preface  is  inevitably  arbitrary. 
Rudolph  Agricola,  for  example,  preferred  a  four-fold  division  of  an  oration:  exordi- 
um, narration,  confirmation,  and  peroration  (p.  209).  Hooker's  chapters  would 
accordingly  be  divided,  telescoping  confirmation  and  refutation:  1,  2,  3  to  6,  and  7. 
1S8  "Hooker's  Style,"  S.R.H.  (1972),  p.  275. 


The  Preface 

Edelen  has  demonstrated  that  this  syntactical  form  was  not  unrelated 
to  Hooker's  philosophical  perspective  (p.  262).  Hooker  imposed  the 
same  structural  priorities  throughout  the  Lawes,  on  the  larger  shape  of 
the  treatise  as  well  as  on  smaller  prose  units.  This,  more  than  any 
other  single  element  of  his  style,  provides  a  vehicle  for  the  original 
and  creative  theological  analysis  that  underlies  the  Lawes. 

In  a  discussion  of  conditions  for  a  possible  disputation,  Hooker  lays 
down  a  requirement  that  describes  his  own  approach  to  theological 

because  the  questions  in  controuersie  between  us  are  many,  if  once  we 
descend  unto  particularities,  that  for  the  easier  and  more  orderly  proceding 
therin,  the  most  generall  be  first  discussed,  nor  any  question  left  off,  nor 
in  each  question  the  prosecution  of  any  one  argument  given  over  and 
another  taken  in  hand,  til  the  issue  .  .  .  be  collected,  red  and  acknowl- 
edged aswel  on  the  one  side  as  on  the  other  to  be  the  plain  conclusion 
which  they  are  grown  unto.  (Pref  5.3;  1:28.21-28) 

Within  the  Lawes  Hooker  attempted  to  carry  on  just  such  a  debate 
with  his  opponents  as  he  identified  and  reconstituted  their  arguments. 
He  described  the  larger  structure  of  the  treatise  in  his  outline  of  ''the 
matter  conteyned  in  these  eyght  bookes"  in  chapter  7  (1:34.14).  The  first 
four  books  concerned  the  larger  "generall"  issues  raised  by  the  Puritans; 
the  last  four,  the  "specialities  of  that  cause  which  lyeth  in  controversie"  (§  6; 
1:35.28).  Employing  the  concept  of  "law"  as  the  basic  category  for 
describing  the  creation,  he  began  the  treatise  with  a  discussion  of  its 
most  fundamental  underpinnings:  "the  nature,  kindes,  and  qualities  of 
lawes  in  generall"  (§  2;  1:34.27).  Then,  rather  than  treating  issues  in  the 
perspective  with  which  his  opponents  had  discussed  them,  he  pro- 
ceeded to  identify  what  he  regarded  as  the  broadest  underlying  princi- 
ple that  distinguished  their  arguments,  "the  very  maine  pillar  of  your 
whole  cause,  "namely,  the  omnicompetence  of  scriptural  authority  (§  3; 
1:35.4—5).  Then  he  turned  to  that  principle  which  he  judged  to  be 
"next  in  degree"  as  a  foundation  of  the  disciplinarian  position,  a  fixed, 
unchanging  form  of  church  government  prescribed  by  the  New 
Testament  (§  4;  1:35.10).  Having  considered  these  first  three  levels  of 
groundwork,  he  then  moved  "from  the  generall  grounds  and  foundations 
of  your  cause  unto  your  generall  accusations  against  us":  unlike  truly  Re- 



formed  churches,  the  English  church  had  retained  corrupted  Roman 
practices  and  structures  (§  5;  1:35.18—19).  Only  then  was  he  prepared 
to  turn  to  the  particularities  which  constituted  the  final  four  books  of 
the  treatise:  religious  "publique  duties"  the  power  of  jurisdiction,  both 
local  and  episcopal,  and  the  "  Ecclesiasticall  Dominion"  of  the  crown  (§ 
6;  1:35.27-36.7). 

Because  it  was  designed  to  link  the  formal  treatise  to  the  immediate 
controversy  with  which  the  reader  was  familiar,  the  Preface  stands 
outside  of  this  outline.  Yet,  even  here,  rather  than  accepting  the  terms 
of  the  argument  already  laid  down,  Hooker  selected  what  were,  from 
his  perspective,  the  fundamental,  most  "general"  axioms  of  the  argu- 
ment. In  chapters  1  to  7,  Hooker  explains  how  what  he  regards  as  an 
expedient  plan  of  local  church  reform  originated  (chapter  2),  how  it 
captured  the  minds  and  hearts  of  so  many,  both  unlearned  and  schol- 
arly (chapters  3  and  4),  and  how,  using  the  proposal  of  a  disputation, 
it  might  be  resolved  (chapters  5  and  6).  Hooker  frames  this  argument 
with  a  brief  introductory  chapter  expressing  his  desire  for  peaceful 
unity  with  "such  numbers  of  otherwise  right  well  affected  and  most  religiouslie 
enclined  mindes"  and  with  a  final  chapter  presenting  a  "  brief e  of  these  my 
travailes"  in  the  treatise  to  follow  (1.2  and  7.7;  1:2.8-9  and  36.10). 
Chapters  8  and  9,  describing  why  "the  wisdom  of  governors"  had  led 
them  to  "withstand  [disciplinarian]  endevors"  can  be  best  understood, 
structurally,  as  an  appendix  to  what  went  before  (8.1;  1:36.18—22). 
Since  these  chapters  were  not  clearly  identified  as  an  appendix,  their 
addition  partially  obscures  the  structure  of  the  Preface. 

The  manner  in  which  Hooker  carried  on  his  polemic  resulted  in  a 
work  of  constructive  theology  that  rose  above  the  controversial  issues 
that  gave  it  birth.  Here,  a  demonstration  of  the  constructive  character 
of  the  Lawes  must  be  limited  to  the  outline  of  the  entire  work  that 
Hooker  presents  in  chapter  7.  In  giving  priority  to  " generall grounds  and 
foundations"  Hooker  was  not  content  to  shred  into  still  finer  fragments 
the  arguments  of  his  opponents  as  they  had  raised  them.  He  had  rather 
to  uncover  the  roots  that  he  believed  underlay  the  English  church  as 
it  had  been  established  in  the  Elizabethan  settlement.  He  set  out  to 
demonstrate  that  the  institution  possessed  foundational  ligatures  such 
"as  no  lawe  of  God,  nor  reason  of  man  [has  been]  alleaged  of  force 
sufficient  to  prove  they  do  ill,  who  to  the  uttermost  of  their  power 


The  Preface 

withstand  the  alteration  thereof."  His  ability  to  show  that  the  discipli- 
narian program  "is  only  by  error  and  misconceipt  named  the  ordi- 
nance of  Jesus  Christ"  depended,  as  he  chose  to  argue  the  issue,  on  his 
constructive  exposition  of  foundations  of  the  Church  of  England 
(Pref.  1.2;  1:2.18-21).  John  S.  Marshall  described  "Hooker  as  the 
Author  of  a  Summa,"  but  he  confused  the  issue  by  attempting  to 
distinguish  parts  of  the  treatise  proper  as  "primarily  polemical"  from 
those  that  formed  "a  continuous  and  coherent  . . .  philosophy  and 
theology."  More  accurately,  the  polemical  and  the  constructive 
are  intertwined  throughout  the  Lawes  precisely  because  the  character 
of  Hooker's  polemics  itself  demanded  constructive  analysis. 

In  Christian  apologetic,  polemic  and  construction  have  typically 
been  so  intertwined.  St.  Paul  wrote  to  the  Galatians  to  counter  those 
who  would  turn  them  "to  a  different  gospel"  (Gal.  1:6).  In  the 
Summa  of  Thomas  Aquinas  polemics  are  built  into  the  very  structure 
of  the  scholastic  arguments,  and  Calvin's  Institutes  contain  polemic  in 
every  chapter.  Although  anti-Aristotelians  and  Roman  Catholics 
loomed  large  in  the  minds  of  Aquinas  and  Calvin,  neither  designed 
the  overall  structure  of  his  major  works  as  a  confutation  of  his  oppo- 
nents. With  his  concern  to  counter  a  particular  set  of  adversaries, 
Hooker  did,  to  be  sure,  establish  an  organizational  structure  in  the 
Lawes  that  responds  to  what  were,  in  his  judgment,  the  primary 
questions  that  they  had  raised.  The  requirements  that  Hooker  set 
down  for  himself  in  that  response,  however,  demanded  an  approach 
that  was  constructive  to  its  core. 

Both  the  moderate  tone  and  the  temperate  diction  of  the  Lawes 
contrast  with  much  of  the  language  in  sixteenth-century  theological 
literature.  One  would  like  to  think  that  as  a  person  Hooker,  like  his 
imagined  future  generation,  himself  valued  "three  words  uttered  with 
charitie  and  meekenes"  more  than  "three  thousand  volumes  written 
with  disdainefull  sharpnes  of  wit"  (Pref.  2.10;  1:12.13-15),  but  the 
critic  must  recognize  that  precisely  by  incorporating  such  a  value  into 
his  writing  he  was  also  producing  a  more  effective  polemic.  Although 

Hooker  and  the  Anglican  Tradition  (Sewanee:  Press  of  the  University  of  the 
South;  London:  A.  &  C.  Black,  1963),  p.  66. 



such  phrases  are  part  of  the  ethical  appeal  of  a  skilled  rhetorician  and 
a  recognized  "language  of  literary  convention"  (n.  139,  above),  the 
fact  remains  that  Hooker  chose  this  rhetorical  persona  far  more  fre- 
quently than  his  theological  contemporaries. 

Hooker  phrased  his  appeals  to  his  opponents  in  the  context  of  a 
common  understanding  of  the  corporate  character  of  human  life. 
Since  a  "lawe  is  the  deed  of  the  whole  bodie  politike"  if  Puritans  judge 
themselves  to  be  its  members,  "then  is  the  law  even  [their]  deed  also" 
(Pref.  5.2;  1:27.33-18.2).  In  the  apostolic  church,  the  decisions  of  the 
Council  of  Jerusalem  provided  "ground  sufficient  for  any  reasonable  mans 
conscience  to  build  the  dutie  of  obedience  upon,  whatsoever  his  owne  opinion 
were  .  .  .  before"  (6.3;  1:32.2-11).  So  it  was  in  the  Elizabethan  church: 
the  body  politic  had  made  certain  determinations  about  the  way  that 
the  national  community  would  practise  the  Christian  religion.  Of 
course  Christians  were  obligated  not  to  observe  laws  "which  in  their 
hearts  they  are  stedfastly  perswaded  to  be  against  the  law  of  God" — a  signifi- 
cant but  necessary  concession — but  short  of  "reasons  demonstrative" 
which  Hooker  judged  the  Puritans  to  lack,  an  individual  had  a  moral 
obligation  to  accept  the  decisions  made  by  the  appropriate  authorities 
of  their  "bodie  politike"  The  disciplinarian  program  comprised,  at  best, 
"meere probabilities,"  insufficient  to  sanction  disobedience  to  established 
law  (6.6;  1:33.12-18).  The  Preface  was  aimed  not  only  at  those  who 
might  be  persuaded  to  favor  the  whole  scope  of  the  settlement,  but 
also  at  those  who  ought  at  least  minimally  to  recognize  that  its  sup- 
porters were  "led  by  great  reason  to  observe"  the  ecclesiastical  laws  and 
that  those  who  opposed  them  were  "by  no  necessitie  bound  to  impugne 
them"  (7.1;  1:34.17-18). 

The  appeal  to  human  reason  was  a  principal  tool  in  Hooker's 
polemic  throughout  the  Lawes,  and  it  appears  in  the  Preface  as  well. 
Hooker  confronted  the  claim  of  disciplinarians  that  "the  speciall  illumi- 
nation of  the  holy  Ghost"  enabled  them  to  discern  the  true  meaning  of 
Scripture.  Accepting,  with  them,  the  role  of  the  Holy  Spirit  in  godly 
exegesis,  a  teaching  emphasized  in  Calvin's  theology,  Hooker  turned 
the  common  Calvinist  interpretation  of  that  "illumination"  upside 
down.  He  challenged  the  claim  of  "speciall  illumination"  by  arguing 
that  "there  are  but  two  waies  whereby  the  spirit  leadeth  men  into  all  truth:  the 
one  extraordinarie,  the  other  common":  revelation  and  reason.  Since  he 
might  assume  that  Puritans  were  not  claiming  to  be  prophets,  "reason 


The  Preface 

[must]  be  the  hand  which  the  Spirite  hath  led  them  by"  (Pref.  3.10;  1:17. 
10—23).  It  was,  therefore,  not  "the  fervent  eamestnes"  of  their  persua- 
sions, but  "the  soundnes  of  those  reasons"  they  put  forth  that  must  serve 
as  the  test  of  their  truth  (1:18.4-8;  see  pp.  136-137  and  156-157,  be- 

By  its  nature,  then,  the  Preface  is  the  most  explicitly  polemical 
section  of  the  Lawes.  The  Church  of  England  was  struggling  to  deter- 
mine its  identity  within  a  fractured  Christian  West.  An  articulate  and 
dedicated  body  of  clerical  and  lay  leaders  understood  that  identity  to 
be  defined  by  Reformation  doctrines  of  their  own  century,  the  sym- 
bols and  structures  of  which  were  best  represented  by  the  continental 
Reformed  churches  and,  for  some,  most  purely  by  Geneva.  Another 
group  of  leaders,  less  well  defined  and  only  gradually  becoming  as 
articulate  as  the  first  group,  understood  the  terms  of  the  settlement  to 
have  established  an  identity  which  they  judged  to  be  faithful  to 
Scripture,  to  the  central  insights  of  Reformation  doctrine,  and  to  a 
critically  examined  heritage  of  the  intervening  centuries.  Numbering 
himself  among  the  latter,  Hooker  sought  to  persuade  others  to  accept 
that  identity.  His  understanding  of  the  structures  of  authority  in 
human  society,  especially  as  they  were  related  to  the  role  of  an  estab- 
lished religion,  led  him,  in  the  addition  of  chapters  8  and  9  to  the 
Preface,  to  encourage  the  efforts  of  church  leaders  and  government 
officials  to  suppress  the  efforts  of  the  disaffected  to  alter  or  defy  those 
agreed-upon  laws. 

Two  elements  in  the  substance  of  Hooker's  understanding  sustain 
the  irenicism  of  his  style.  First,  both  the  inclusive  character  of  the 
church  as  he  understood  it  and  the  concrete  reality  of  that  inclusive- 
ness  in  his  university  and  other  personal  relationships  meant  that  he 
always  regarded  opponents  as  members  of  one  corporate  body  (indeed, 
Travers  was  his  cousin-in-law).  Second,  his  dedication  to  reason 
as  a  God-given  gift,  requiring  him  to  sound  "the  depth  from  whence 
[truth]  springeth,"  precluded  narrow  dogmatism  (1.1.2;  1:56.28). 
When  he  judged  them  to  be  in  the  wrong,  Hooker  did  not  suffer 
fools  gladly.  But  as  Olivier  Loyer  summed  it  up: 

160  Hooker's  cousin  "Alys"  married  John  Travers;  see  genealogical  chart,  Keble, 
facing  l:cxvi.  John  was  a  younger  brother  of  Walter;  see  S.J.  Knox,  Walter  Travers: 
Paragon  of  Elizabethan  Puritanism  (1962),  p.  14. 



The  irenicism  is  real  with  Hooker,  but  it  is  an  irenicism  which 
will  not  be  satisfied  with  a  patched-up  agreement;  it  is  an  ireni- 
cism nourished  with  the  certainty  that  the  adversary  is  holding  a 
part  of  the  truth  that  needs  to  be  brought  to  light  and  put  into 

,  161 

a  better  context. 

Irenicism  and  polemics,  constructive  theology  and  rhetoric:  each 
pervades  the  Lawes.  Such  mixtures,  Hooker  might  have  said,  comprise 
the  inevitable  character  of  fellowship  among  fallen  human  beings  and 
pervade  the  intellectual  constructs  of  their  thoughts. 

L'Anglicanisme  de  Richard  Hooker,  2:678-679  (trans,  mine). 


Book  I 

Lee  W.  Gibbs 

"THE  FYRST  BOOKE  Concerning  Lawes,  and  their  severall  kindes  in 
general?'  is  the  best  known  and  most  often  quoted  from  of  all  Hook- 
er's works.  It  is  different  in  character  from  all  the  other  books  of  the 
Lawes,  and  it  has  no  English  parallel  in  the  sixteenth  century.  Al- 
though couched  in  noncontroversial  language,  it  lays  the  foundation 
for  all  the  antidisciplinarian  arguments  of  the  later  books.  Introduced 
as  a  general  exposition  of  the  nature  and  kinds  of  law,  it  becomes  in 
fact  a  treatise  within  a  treatise,  on  metaphysics,  theology,  philosophy 
of  nature,  education,  moral  philosophy,  and  politics. 

In  describing  Book  I  to  his  disciplinarian  opponents  at  the  end  of 
his  original  draft  of  the  Preface  (see  above,  pp.  38—43),  Hooker  sets 
out  to  carry  the  still  disputed  issue  of  the  character  of  the  English 
Reformation  to  a  higher  level  of  general  first  principles: 

Wherefore  seeing  that  lawes  and  ordinances  in  particular,  whether  such  as 
we  observe,  or  such  as  your  selves  would  have  established;  when  the 
minde  doth  sift  and  examine  them,  it  must  needes  have  often  recourse  to 
a  number  of  doubts  and  questions  about  the  nature,  kindes,  and  qualities 
of  lawes  in  generall,  whereof  unlesse  it  be  throughly  enformed,  there  will 
appeare  no  certaintie  to  stay  our  perswasion  upon:  I  have  for  that  cause 
set  downe  in  the  first  place  an  introduction  on  both  sides  needefull  to  be 
considered.  Declaring  therein  what  lawe  is,  how  different  kindes  of  lawes 
there  are,  and  what  force  they  are  of  according  unto  each  kind.  (Pref. 
7.2;  1:34.23-35.2) 

1  For  Aristotle  and  Thomas  Aquinas,  a  first  principle  is  something  from  which 
something  else  either  exists,  becomes,  or  is  known:  Aristotle  distinguishes  between 
arguments  from  and  those  to  first  principles  in  Nicomachean  Ethics,  1.4  (1095*);  Aquinas 
states  that  "when  investigating  the  nature  of  anything,  one  should  make  the  same  kind 
of  analysis  as  he  makes  when  he  reduces  a  proposition  to  certain  self-evident  princi- 
ples" in  Quaestiones  disputatae  de  veritate,  1.1. 



Book  I  is  thus  a  general  introduction  to  a  work  that  is  (1)  a  practical 
polemic  written  to  defend  the  constitution  and  practices  of  the 
Church  of  England  as  established  by  the  Elizabethan  settlement  against 
the  attacks  of  critics  who  desired  further  reform  and  (2)  a  definitive 
expression  of  the  balanced  reformed-catholic  theology  that  was  being 
formulated  in  England  during  the  sixteenth  century  by  such  figures  as 
Thomas  Cranmer  and  John  Jewel. 

Scholars  have  often  opposed  these  diverse  aspects  of  Hooker's 
thought  as  antithetical  to  one  another  or  have  emphasized  one  of 
them  at  the  expense  of  the  other.  Older  historians  who  viewed 
Hooker  as  a  great  irenical  figure  who  rose  above  the  ephemeral  party 
conflicts  of  his  own  time  neglected  the  polemical  origin  and  place  of 
the  Lawes  in  the  controversies  of  the  Elizabethan  church.  More 
recent  scholars  have  emphasized  the  frankly  apologetic  nature  of 
Hooker's  work,  discounting  the  irenic  intent  Hooker  claims  for  his 
treatise  as  a  rhetorical  tactic  designed  to  lay  claim  to  the  high  ground 
within  the   controversy.     Recognition  of  the  practical  origin  and 

2  John  Booty  has  argued  that  the  aim  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement,  which 
Hooker  was  defending,  was  not  political  compromise  or  the  mere  balancing  of 
opinions  between  two  opposing  parties  but  philosophic  comprehension,  that  is,  the 
rejection  of  error  whatever  its  source  and  the  affirmation  of  truth  wherever  it  might 
be  found,  characterized  by  measure,  moderation,  and  restraint;  the  question  of  what 
is  true  and  beneficial  in  religion  is  to  be  settled  according  to  the  tests  of  Scripture, 
tradition,  and  reason,  and  to  exclude  all  to  the  contrary;  see  "Hooker  and  Anglican- 
ism," S.R.H.,  pp.  207-211. 

The  argument  that  Hooker  rises  above  the  contentions  of  sixteenth-century 
polemic  is  as  old  as  Henry  Hallam,  who  described  Hooker  as  a  knight  of  romance 
among  the  vulgar  brawlers  of  the  religious  controversy;  The  Constitutional  History  of 
England  front  the  Accession  of  Henry  VII  to  the  Death  of  George  II,  5th  edn.  (London, 
1846),  1:214;  and  as  recent  as  Alfred  Pollard,  who  has  written  that  Hooker  goes 
"beyond  the  bickering  world  of  wrangling  about  ecclesiastical  power  and  scriptural 
interpretation  into  the  majestic  realm  of  eternal  verity";  Richard  Hooker,  Writers  and 
Their  Work,  195  (London:  Longmans,  Green,  1966),  p.  15. 

4  The  emphasis  upon  understanding  Hooker's  Lawes  in  terms  of  its  polemic  against 
the  Elizabethan  presbyterians  is  found  in  W.  D.  J.  Cargill  Thompson,  "The  Philoso- 
pher of  the  'Politic  Society,'"  S.R.H.,  pp.  3-76,  rpr.,  Studies  in  the  Reformation,  ed. 
Dugmore  (1980),  pp.  131-91;  Brian  Vickers,  Introduction  2,  Of  the  Laws  of  Ecclesiasti- 
cal Polity:  An  Abridged  Edition  (London:  Sidgwick  &  Jackson,  1973),  pp.  41-59;  Rudolf 


Book  I 

intent  of  the  Lawes,  including  Book  I,  does  not  minimize  the  distinc- 
tiveness of  Hooker's  moderation  in  the  heat  of  debate,  the  uniquely 
lofty  level  of  his  discourse  about  the  first  principles  underlying  the 
disputed  issues,  the  genuineness  of  his  appeal  to  persuasive  reason 
rather  than  to  truth  claims  made  on  behalf  of  the  established  order,  or 
the  sincerity  of  his  belief  that  the  program  of  the  disciplinarians  really 
was  truly  at  odds  with  his  perception  of  a  lawfully  ordered  cosmos.5 
The  fundamental  problem  in  the  interpretation  of  Book  I  is  there- 
fore that  of  setting  an  apparently  serene  essay  in  philosophical  theology 
within  the  context  of  the  practical  crisis  faced  by  the  Elizabethan 
church  during  the  closing  decades  of  the  sixteenth  century  (see  above, 
pp.  8-26),  for  it  is  the  distinction  of  Book  I,  both  within  the  Lawes 

Almasy,  "The  Purpose  of  Richard  Hooker's  Polemic,"  Journal  of  the  History  of  Ideas, 
39  (1978):  251-270;  Robert  Eccleshall,  "Richard  Hooker  and  the  Peculiarities  of  the 
English,"  History  of  Political  Thought,  2  (1981):  63-117;  Stanley  Archer,  Richard  Hooker, 
Twayne's  English  Authors  Series  (Boston:  Twayne,  1983),  Preface;  and  John  N.  Wall, 
"Hooker's  'Faire  Speeche':  Rhetorical  Strategies  in  the  Lawes  of  Ecclesiasticall  Polity," 
in  Donald  S.  Armentrout,  ed.,  77m  Sacred  History:  Anglican  Reflections,  for  John  Booty 
(Cambridge,  Mass.:  Cowley  Publications,  1990),  pp.  125-143. 

The  contemporary  school  of  social  historians  who  oppose  the  "essentialist" 
valuation  of  abstract  ideas  as  if  they  were  not  related  to  "materialist"  (that  is,  econom- 
ic, social,  and  political  relations),  and  who  therefore  interpret  theological  and  philo- 
sophical doctrines  as  epiphenomena,  understand  Hooker's  explication  and  defense  of 
"the  Elizabethan  world  view"  as  an  example  of  an  ideological  attempt  to  maintain  the 
status  quo  for  privileged  aristocratic  classes  in  England,  including  bishops  and  the 
crown.  Hooker  is  well  aware  of  this  practical  socio-economic  aspect  of  sixteenth- 
century  English  polity,  and  there  are  passages  scattered  throughout  Book  I  and  the 
Lawes  that  self-consciously  demonstrate  how  intimately  his  description  of  order 
grounded  in  the  universal  rule  of  law  is  bound  together  with  his  attempt  to  defend  a 
particular  political  and  religious  establishment.  Nevertheless,  these  arguments  in 
support  of  conformity  do  not  negate  the  philosophical  character  of  Hooker's  social 
thought,  which,  with  regard  to  human  affairs,  views  the  whole  community  as  the 
ultimate  source  of  political  power  and  of  any  changes  thereof;  see  Introduction  to 
Book  VIII,  pp.  380-383,  below;  see  also  W.  Speed  Hill,  "The  Evolution  of  Hooker's 
Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity,"  S.R.H.,  pp.  152-53;  Christopher  Hill,  Economic  Problems 
of  the  Church:  From  Archbishop  Whitgift  to  the  Long  Parliament  (Oxford:  Clarendon  Press, 
1956;  rpr.  1965),  pp.  ix-xii;  and  Christopher  Morris,  Political  Thought  in  England: 
Tyndale  to  Hooker,  University  Library  of  Modern  Knowledge  (London:  Oxford 
University  Press,  1953;  rpr.  1965),  pp.  69,  74-77,  176,  195. 



and  as  compared  to  the  works  of  contemporary  controversialists,  that 
Hooker's  roles  as  detached  philosophical  theologian  and  engaged 
polemicist  writing  on  behalf  of  an  established  church  appear  to  have 
seamlessly  coalesced. 

Book  I  as  Polemic 

Although  it  is  typically  read  in  isolation  from  the  treatise  of  which 
it  is  a  part,  Book  I  is  not  an  abstract  essay  in  philosophical  theology 
or  political  theory,  somehow  set  apart  in  tone  and  intent  from  the 
treatise  it  introduces.  Here,  as  in  the  more  explicitly  polemical  Preface, 
Hooker  both  attacks  a  powerful  opposition  and  defends  a  particular 
religious  settlement.  Hence,  even  though  he  seeks  to  provide  a  basis 
for  the  negative  and  positive  phases  of  this  apologetic  task  by  placing 
them  in  the  broader  normative  context  of  a  systematic  examination  of 
"Lawes,  and  their  severall  kindes  in  generally  every  subject  he  discusses — 
even  at  this  very  abstract  level — has  to  be  considered  in  terms  of  its 
polemical  overtones  and  implications. 

One  of  the  clearest  examples  of  negative  polemic  in  Book  I  occurs 
near  the  end,  where  Hooker  makes  an  ad  hominem  argument  that 
castigates  the  disciplinarians'  individualism  and  trust  in  private  judg- 
ment when  they  refuse  to  obey  laws  made  for  the  common  good  to 
which  the  whole  society  had  consented: 

It  is  both  commonly  sayd,  and  truely,  that  the  best  men  other- 
wise are  not  alwayes  the  best  in  regard  of  societie.  The  reason 
wherof  is  for  that  the  law  of  mens  actions  is  one,  if  they  be 
respected  only  as  men;  and  another,  when  they  are  considered  as 
parts  of  a  politique  body.  Many  men  there  are,  then  whom 
nothing  is  more  commendable  when  they  are  singled.  And  yet  in 
societie  with  others  none  lesse  fit  to  answere  the  duties  which 
are  looked  for  at  their  handes.  Yea,  I  am  pers waded,  that  of 
them  with  whom  in  this  cause  we  strive,  there  are  whose  betters 

It  was  edited  as  a  school  text  by  R.  W.  Church  ("English  Classics")  at  Oxford 
in  1866  (rpr.  1868,  1873,  1882,  1896,  and  1905);  Keble's  1888  text  was  excerpted 
and  reprinted  by  the  University  of  Chicago  Press  in  1940  and  1949. 


Book  I 

amongst  men  would  bee  hardly  found,  if  they  did  not  live 
amongest  men,  but  in  some  wildernesse  by  themselves.  (16.6; 

Hooker's  seemingly  dispassionate  explication  of  the  general  theory  of 
the  nature  and  kinds  of  law  also  has  a  polemical  aim,  albeit  a  positive 
one.  It  was  designed  to  provide  a  philosophical  foundation  for  the  two 
basic  principles  on  which  his  and  other  Elizabethan  defenses  of  the 
established  church  rested:  (1)  the  distinction  between  necessary  matters 
of  faith,  essential  to  salvation  and  clearly  expressed  in  Scripture,  and 
contingent  "external"  matters  of  religion,  "not  commended  or  prohib- 
ited in  Scripture,"  and  therefore  to  be  regarded  as  "things  indifferent" 
(adiaphora);  and  (2)  the  correlative  claim  that  each  individual  branch 
of  the  church  universal  has  the  right  to  determine  or  regulate  its  own 
external  or  "indifferent"  forms  of  worship  and  government. 

These  two  principles  were  at  the  very  heart  of  the  debate  between 
the  supporters  of  the  church  as  established  in  England  and  those  who 
sought  reform  of  its  "discipline"  or  "politie"  along  the  lines  estab- 
lished in  Geneva — a  debate  that  pivoted  around  the  issue  of  whether 
or  not  the  ecclesiastical  laws  and  orders  established  by  governmental 
authority  ought  to  be  accepted  and  obeyed  by  all  citizens.  Along  with 
other  early  apologists  of  the  established  church,  Hooker  contended 
that  the  content  of  these  laws  and  orders  dealt  with  "things  indiffer- 
ent"— such  matters,  for  example,  as  clerical  vestments,  church  ceremo- 
nies, and  ecclesiastical  polity  in  general,  including  episcopacy  and  royal 
supremacy.  He  argued  that  in  such  "things  indifferent"  it  was  not 
only  permissible  but  desirable  to  follow  the  combined  authority  of 
tradition  and  reason;  in  disobeying  ecclesiastical  law  the  disciplinarians 

Cargill  Thompson  argued  that  it  was  John  Whitgift  who  first  appropriated  Philip 
Melanchthon's  concept  of  "adiaphora"  and  related  it  to  these  two  principles  of  church 
government  (S.R.H.,  p.  16;  Studies  in  the  Reformation,  p.  143).  But  Quentin  Skinner 
points  out  that  Thomas  Starkey  had  anticipated  Whitgift  (and  Hooker)  in  his  An 
exhortation  to  the  people,  instructynge  theym  to  unitie  and  obedience  ([1536];  STC  23236); 
see  The  Foundations  of  Modem  Political  Thought  (Cambridge:  The  University  Press, 
1978;  rpr.  1979),  2:103-105,  and  Introduction  to  Book  VIII,  p.  351,  n.  21,  below. 
For  Hooker,  as  for  Whitgift  and  Melanchthon,  "indifference"  is  the  indetermination 
of  the  means  chosen  to  attain  the  end  proposed. 



were  undermining  the  whole  of  society  without  having  good  reason 
or  cause  of  conscience,  for  it  was  only  in  external  "things  indifferent" 
that  they  were  being  asked  to  conform. 

The  Elizabethan  presbyterians,  however,  did  not  agree.  God  would 
not,  they  argued,  remain  silent  or  ambiguous  in  his  Word  about 
matters  that  are  so  important  for  the  life  of  his  church  as  proper 
ceremonies  of  divine  worship  or  the  proper  form  of  ecclesiastical 
government.  The  reformers  therefore  challenged  what  they  regarded 
as  the  arbitrariness  of  all  the  positive,  human-made  laws  concerning 
the  religious  establishment  by  setting  them  over  against  the  eternal  law 
of  God  revealed  once  and  for  all  times  in  Scripture.  The  terms  of  the 
debate  were  nicely  put  by  J.  E.  Neale  (the  context  is  the  vestiarian 
controversy  of  1565— 1566,  but  they  apply  equally  to  the  later  debate): 

all  were  agreed  . . .  that  the  quarrel  was  over  'matters  indifferent.' 
Since  we  have  the  essentials  of  a  true  Church,  why  be  so  stiff- 
necked  over  inessentials?  asked  the  bishops  who  found  themselves 
obligated  to  carry  out  the  Queen's  demand  for  uniformity.  Since 
these  things  are  'indifferent'  retorted  their  opponents,  why  force 
them  upon  us? 

Book  I  as  a  Work  of  Systematic  Philosophical  Theology 

While  Book  I  functions  as  the  general  introduction  to  a  sustained 
polemic,  it  also  lays  the  foundations  for  a  coherent  philosophical 
theology.  And  while  its  logical  consistency  has  been  questioned, 

Neale,  1:179-180  (I  owe  this  reference  to  Wallace  Galloway). 

H.  F.  Kearney  argued  that  Hooker's  fundamental  inconsistency  is  to  be  found 
in  his  failure  to  reconcile  the  dichotomy  between  a  "rationalist"  and  a  "voluntarist" 
conception  of  law  ("Richard  Hooker:  A  Reconstruction,"  Cambridge  Journal,  5 
[1952]:  300-311);  Peter  Munz  concluded  that  Hooker's  argument  is  flawed  because 
his  Thomist  theory  of  church  and  state  in  Book  I  is  inconsistent  with  the  Marsilian 
position  taken  in  Book  VIII  (The  Place  of  Hooker  in  the  History  of  Thought);  Gunnar 
Hillerdal  pointed  to  Hooker's  failure  to  reconcile  his  Aristotelian-Thomist  philosophy 
of  reason  with  his  Protestant  theology  of  grace  and  predestination  (Reason  and 
Revelation  in  Richard  Hooker).  Against  the  positions  of  Kearney  and  Muhz,  Arthur  S. 
McGrade  argued  the  coherence  of  Hooker's  thought  in  "The  Coherence  of  Hooker's 
Polity:  The  Books  on  Power,"  Journal  of  the  History  of  Ideas,  24  (1963):  163-182,  and 


Book  I 

Hooker  clearly  asserts  his  own  understanding  of  how  its  diverse  parts 
constitute  a  coherent  whole: 

For  as  much  helpe  whereof  as  may  be  in  this  case,  I  have  endev- 
oured  throughout  the  bodie  of  this  whole  discourse,  that  every 
former  part  might  give  strength  unto  all  that  followe,  and  every 
later  bring  some  light  unto  all  before.  So  that  if  the  judgements 
of  men  doe  but  holde  themselves  in  suspence  as  touching  these 
first  more  generall  meditations,  till  in  order  they  have  perused 
the  rest  that  ensue:  what  may  seeme  darke  at  the  first  will  after- 
wardes  be  founde  more  plaine,  even  as  the  later  particular  deci- 
sions will  appeare,  I  doubt  not  more  strong,  when  the  other  have 
beene  read  before. 

From  the  beginning  Hooker  saw  his  work  as  a  logically  consistent 
whole,  in  which  the  arguments  of  the  last  four  books  presupposed  the 
general  principles  and  arguments  laid  down  in  the  first  four. 

Hooker  launches  his  defense  with  a  thoroughgoing  re-examination 
of  the  nature  of  law,  arguing  that  the  quarrel  with  the  disciplinarians 
over  the  nature  of  authority  was  ultimately  rooted  in  an  inadequate 
understanding  of  the  general  nature  of  law,  combined  with  a  confu- 
sion of  the  different  orders  of  law.  By  choosing  law  as  the  master  idea 
of  his  treatise,  and  by  defining  law  in  a  uniquely  nonauthoritarian 
fashion,  Hooker  fundamentally  reshapes  his  classical  and  medieval 
sources  and  precipitates  a  basic  shift  in  metaphysical  principles.  Because 
his  predecessors  had  given  priority  to  the  realm  of  being  rather  than  to 
the  realm  of  becoming,  law  conceived  of  as  a  rule  of  action  played  a 
relatively  subordinate  role  within  their  broader  speculative  systems. 

"The  Public  and  the  Religious  in  Hooker's  Polity,"  Church  History,  37  (1968):  404- 
422.  Egil  Grislis  challenged  Hillerdal  in  "Richard  Hooker's  Image  of  Man,"  Renais- 
sance Papers  1963,  ed.  S.  K.  Heninger,  Jr.  (The  Southeastern  Renaissance  Conference, 
1964),  pp.  73-84. 

10  1.1.2;  1:57.24-33;  compare  the  outline  in  the  Preface  7.2-3  (1:34.23-36.9)  and 
the  summaries  in  "What  things  are  handled  in  the  Bookes following"  (1:54.2—22). 

First  noted  by  McGrade,  Introduction  1,  An  Abridged  Edition,  pp.  18—19;  see 
also  Paul  E.  Forte,  "Richard  Hooker's  Theory  of  Law,"  Journal  of  Medieval  and 
Renaissance  Studies,  12  (1982):  135-141. 



The  choice  of  law  as  the  first  principle  of  Hooker's  Christian  philoso- 
phy reflects  the  profoundly  social  nature  of  his  thought  and  gives  a  de 
facto  priority  to  the  practical  function  of  reason — as  opposed  to  its 
theoretical  and  productive  functions,  simultaneously  emphasizing 
the  practical  areas  of  ethics  and  politics.  Hooker's  emphasis  upon 
the  realm  of  becoming  and  process  provides  the  foundation  for  a  more 
dynamic  view  of  the  physical  cosmos  and  for  taking  more  seriously 
the  authority  of  evolving  historical  traditions.  In  the  realm  of  practical 
human  action,  where  probable  rather  than  necessary  reasoning  prevails, 
the  criteria  are  precedence,  convenience,  and  expediency — criteria 
taught  not  by  pure  logic  but  by  dialectic,  rhetoric,  and  historical 
experience.  It  is  this  practical  dimension  of  Hooker's  thought,  reflect- 
ed in  the  selection  of  law  as  his  key  category,  that  helped  to  shape  the 
distinctive  moral  divinity  of  the  seventeenth-century  Caroline  divines 
and  all  subsequent  Anglican  theology. 

Hooker  distances  himself  still  further  from  his  classical  and  medieval 
forerunners,  and  especially  from  all  proponents  of  philosophical  and 
theological  voluntarism,  with  his  initial  definition  of  law  as  "that 
which  doth  assigne  unto  each  thing  the  kinde,  that  which  doth  mod- 
erate the  force  and  power,  that  which  doth  appoint  the  forme  and 
measure  of  working"  (1.2.1;  1:58.26-29).  By  defining  law  as  a  rule  or 
measure  guiding  an  action  to  its  appropriate  end  rather  than  as  a 
command  coercively  imposed  by  a  sovereign,  Hooker  omitted  from 

Aristotle  distinguishes  between  the  speculative,  practical,  and  productive  sci- 
ences in  Metaphysics,  6.1  (1025b-1026b).  Unlike  Hooker,  however,  Aristotle  goes  on 
to  argue  that  metaphysics  is  superior  to  all  other  speculative  sciences  and  that  the 
speculative  sciences  are  superior  to  the  nonspeculative. 

Hooker's  theoretical  choice  oflaw  as  the  key  category  of  his  thought  must  not 
be  divorced  from  the  practical  setting  of  his  original  controversy  with  Travers  at  the 
Temple  or  from  his  writing  against  Cartwright  and  the  other  disciplinarians  in  the 
London  home  of  his  father-in-law,  John  Churchman,  located  only  a  few  blocks  away 
from  the  Inns  of  Court;  see  above,  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  56-58;  see  also 
C.  M.  A.  McCauliff,  "Law  as  a  Principle  of  Reform:  Reflections  from  Sixteenth- 
Century  England,"  Rutgers  Law  Review  (1988):  429-435. 

See  Henry  R.  McAdoo,  The  Spirit  of  Anglicanism:  A  Survey  of  Anglican  Theologi- 
cal Method  in  the  Seventeenth  Century  (New  York:  Charles  Scribner's  Sons,  1965),  p.  38, 
and  The  Structure  of  Caroline  Moral  Theology  (London  and  New  York,  1949). 


Book  I 

his  definition  what  many  thinkers,  including  his  disciplinarian  oppo- 
nents, regarded  as  its  most  essential  property.  Well  aware  of  his  inno- 
vative usage,  he  speaks  about  his  "somewhat  more  enlarging  the 
terme"  as  a  departure  from  what  "the  learned  for  the  most  part"  mean 
by  law.  This  departure  allowed  Hooker  to  apply  the  idea  of  law 
not  only  to  the  created  order  but  also  to  the  operations  of  God,  in 
which  he  found  a  two-fold  eternal  law.  Applying  the  concept  of  law 
to  all  external  operations  had  the  inevitable  consequence  of  enhancing 
the  status  and  observance  of  law  throughout  the  rest  of  the  cosmos, 
not  excluding  the  human  society  of  England  in  the  1590s. 

I.  Date  and  Occasion 

Book  I  was  published  with  the  Preface  and  Books  II— IV  in  March 
1593  as  the  initial  installment  of  the  Lawes,  and  its  setting  is  identical 
to  that  of  the  Preface  and  Books  II— IV.  Its  date  and  occasion,  how- 
ever, continue  to  raise  the  question  concerning  the  identity  of  Hook- 
er's antagonist  when  he  first  conceived  of  and  began  to  write  the 

While  Thomas  Cartwright  emerged  as  Hooker's  primary  adversary 
in  the  Lawes,  there  is  internal  evidence  that  the  thesis  of  Book  I  arose 
out  of  the  controversy  with  Walter  Travers  at  the  Temple.  The 
central  issue  underlying  all  of  the  individual  disputes  between  Hooker 
and  Travers  was  that  concerning  the  nature  of  authority,  which  in 
turn  raised  the  related  problems  of  the  nature  of  law  and  the  role  of 
human  reason  in  discerning  theological  truth.  When  Travers  objected 
that  Hooker's  teaching  about  the  doctrine  of  predestination  in  the 
sermon  at  St.  Paul's  Cross  (now  lost  but  probably  delivered  in  1584) 
was  at  variance  with  that  of  Calvin  and  other  "good  writers,"  Travers 
claimed  that  Hooker  answered,  "his  best  aucthor  was  his  owne  reason." 
Travers's  contention  was  that  Hooker  was  presumptuous  in  appealing 

1.3.7  (1:63.6-14);  see  nn  on  this  passage  and  on  1:63.6-64.3. 

Travers,  Supplication,  5:198.24,  this  edn.;  compare  Hooker's  Answer,  5:255.3—11: 
"I  alledged  ...  a  reson  not  meaninge  thereby  myne  owne  reason  as  nowe  it  is  reported, 
but  true  sounde  divyne  reason,  .  .  .  theologicall  reason  which  out  of  princyples  in 
scripture  that  are  playne  soundly  deduceth  more  doubtfull  inferrences.  ..." 



to  his  own  judgment  against  an  authoritative  interpretation  of  Scrip- 
ture by  leading  Protestant  Reformers. 

Travers  made  a  similar  critique  of  Hooker's  Sermon  of  the  Certaintie 
and  Perpetuitie  of  Faith  in  the  Elect,  strenuously  objecting  to  Hooker's 
statement  that  "the  assurance  of  that  we  beleeve  by  the  word,  is  not  so 
certeyne  as  of  that  we  perceyve  by  sense"  Close  examination  of  the 
disputed  text  reveals  that  Hooker  actually  agreed  with  Travers  in 
holding  that,  in  themselves,  "the  thinges  which  God  doth  promys  in  his 
worde  are  surer  unto  us  then  any  thinge  we  touche  handle  or  see" 
(5:236.24—26).  Travers  refused,  however,  to  accept  Hooker's  subse- 
quent argument  that,  with  regard  to  the  "certaintie  of  evidence" 
(5:70.24),  sense  experience  reflected  upon  by  natural  reason  ("the  light 
of  nature")  is  more  certain  than  divine  truth  disclosed  in  the  Bible, 
even  though  that  divine  truth  may  only  be  apprehended  by  reason 
illuminated  by  "the  light  of  grace"  (5:70.17).  Travers  had  to  reject 
these  incipient  appeals  to  natural  reason  and  to  sense  experience 
because  they  challenged  the  Calvinist  and  disciplinarian  thesis  that 
Scripture  is  the  only  rule  of  all  ecclesiastical  law.  On  the  other  side, 
Hooker's  discussion  here  points  clearly  to  his  central  line  of  argument 
in  Book  I  that  law  can  be  discovered  by  the  light  of  natural  reason 
and  that  human  laws  can  and  must  regulate  affairs  in  the  church;  it 
also  anticipates  his  position  on  the  relation  of  Scripture  and  reason  in 
chapter  14  (1: 126.5-13). 18 

It  is  in  the  Sermon  of  Pride,  however,  that  Hooker  first  reflects  on 
the  general  concept  of  law  and  the  system  of  laws.  Justifying  the 
authority  of  law  on  the  basis  of  its  reasonableness  rather  than  in  terms 
of  its  simply  being  the  command  of  a  sovereign  sanctioned  by  coer- 


cion,  he  speaks  there  of  law  as  "that  exact  rule  wherby  humane 
actions  are  measured,"  and  identifies  this  rule  as  the  law  of  God.  In 
Book  I  he  elaborates  this  distinction  between  revealed  divine  law  and 

Supplication,  5:200.6-7;  see  Hooker,  Certaintie,  5:70.24—25,  and  Answer,  5:236. 

See  W.  Speed  Hill,  "Doctrine  and  Polity  in  Hooker's  Laws,"  English  Literary 
Renaissance,  2  (1972):  173-193. 

19  Pride,  5:309.11-23;  compare  Lawes,  1.2.5  (1:61.18-28). 

20  Pride,  5:312.8-9;  compare  Lawes,  1.2.1  (1:58.26-33). 


Book  I 

the  law  of  reason:  "Under  the  name  of  the  law  we  must  comprehend 
not  only  that  which  god  hath  written  in  tables  and  leaves  but  that 
which  nature  hath  ingraven  in  the  hartes  of men"  (5:312.12—15). 

Most  importantly  of  all,  in  the  context  of  a  general  discussion  of 
justice  as  "a  vertue  wherby  we  have  our  own  in  such  sort  as  law 
prescribeth,"  Hooker  makes  the  crucial  distinction  between  natural 
immutable  law  on  the  one  hand  and  human  variable  law  on  the  other 
(5:334.31—335.6),  anticipating  the  argument  that  the  root  of  the 
disciplinarian  error  is  the  false  idea  that  all  laws  made  by  humans  are 
positive  and  all  those  given  by  God  are  immutable.  And  when  he 
observes  that  even  some  laws  revealed  in  Scripture  are  alterable  ("All 
Canons  apostolicall  touching  the  forme  of  church  government  though 
receyved  from  god  him  selfe  yeat  positive  lawes  and  therfore  alter- 
able"; 5:335.25—27)  while  some  human  laws  are  unchangeable,  he 
identifies  the  key  issue  at  stake  in  the  struggle  with  Travers  and  the 


disciplinarians  over  the  nature  of  authority  in  "ecclesiastical  politic" 

ii.  Sources 

It  may  come  as  a  surprise  to  a  more  secular  age  to  learn  that  Hook- 
er's primary  source  for  Book  I — philosophic  as  it  is — is  the  Holy 
Bible.  There  are  fifty  references  to  the  Old  Testament  (quoted  from 
the  Geneva  Bible),  ninety-seven  to  the  New  (usually  translated  by 
Hooker  himself  from  the  Greek  or  the  Vulgate),  and  six  to  the  apoc- 
ryphal Wisdom  of  Solomon.  It  is  hard  to  overemphasize  how  different 
an  impression  one  has  of  the  character  of  Book  I  when  one  has  in 
hand  all  the  biblical  references  and  reads  them  in  context.  Without  an 
active  awareness  of  them,  one  can  understand  neither  Hooker's 
biblical  hermeneutics  nor  his  foundation  of  the  overall  structure  and 
argument  of  Book  I  upon  the  authority  of  the  Scriptures  as  the  Word 
of  God/ 


Cargill  Thompson  identified  the  application  of  the  concept  of  mutable  human 
law  to  the  sphere  of  ecclesiastical  law  as  one  of  the  two  most  significant  aspects  of 
Hooker's  theory  of  human  law,  the  other  being  his  insistence  that  all  human  laws 
derive  their  ultimate  validity  from  consent;  S.R.H.,  p.  33;  Studies  in  the  Reformation, 
p.  159. 

See,  for  example,  the  dense  series  of  citations  on  angelology  in  chap.  4,  where 



After  the  Bible,  and  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  there  are  only  three 
direct  references  and  two  probable  paraphrases,  the  second  most 
important  source  for  Book  I  is  Aquinas's  Summa  theologies,  especially 
that  part  known  as  "The  Treatise  on  Law"  (la2ae.90-97).23  Hooker 
adopts  as  his  own  the  Thomistic  dictum  that  gratia  non  tollit  naturam, 
sed  perfecit,  a  doctrine  which  has  far-reaching  polemical  implications 
with  respect  to  the  more  pessimistic  stance  of  his  disciplinarian  oppo- 
nents on  the  relation  of  reason  and  faith,  on  the  disabilities  of  fallen 
human  nature,  and  on  the  necessity  of  the  political  state  and  its  laws. 
Moreover,  the  basic  outline  of  Book  I  is  derived  from  Aquinas's 
discussion  of  the  various  kinds  of  law  (eternal,  natural,  human,  and 
divine),  as  is  the  basic  conception  of  law  as  rational  in  its  essence 
(aliquid  rationis)  and  his  emphasis  upon  the  directive  power  of  law 
{potestas  directiva)  over  its  coercive  power  {potestas  coactiva). 

Nevertheless,  Hooker  did  not  hesitate  to  modify  Aquinas's  scheme 
of  law  to  suit  his  own  philosophical-theological  needs.  Hence,  al- 
though Aquinas  distinguishes  between  "eternal  law"  and  "divine 
law,"  there  is  nothing  in  his  writings  that  corresponds  to  Hooker's 
distinction  between  the  "First"  and  "Second  Law  Eternal."  Hooker  is 
also  unique  in  adding  a  special  category  of  "celestial  law"  for  angels 
and  in  distinguishing  between  "the  law  of  reason"  and  "the  law  of 
[physical]  nature"  in  the  created  world. 

Behind  the  authority  of  Aquinas  stands  that  of  "the  Arch-Philoso- 
pher," Aristotle  (1.10.4;  1:99.28).24  However,  Hooker  does  not  hesi- 

Hooker  documents  from  Scripture  their  praise  of  God,  their  obedience  to  the  divine 
will,  and  their  submissive  role  as  messengers  and  servants  to  humankind — a  series  that 
closes  with  references  to  the  insubordinate  angels  who  became  demons  cast  into  hell 
with  their  prince,  the  Devil.  See  also  nn  at  1:70.20-22,  70.22-71.15,  and  71.10-11, 
and  the  ISR,  this  volume  and  volume  5. 

Hooker  also  makes  one  reference  each  to  Aquinas's  Compendium  theologiae  and 
to  his  commentary  on  Aristotle's  Metaphysics.  The  only  other  medieval  scholastic 
represented  in  Book  I  is  Duns  Scotus,  "the  wittiest  of  the  Schoole  divines"  (1.11.5; 
1:117.19),  whose  commentary  on  Peter  Lombard's  Sentences  Hooker  cites  twice. 

There  are  twenty-two  references  in  all  to  works  by  Aristotle,  including  six  to 
the  Nicomachean  Ethics,  five  to  the  Politics,  three  each  to  the  Rhetoric  and  Metaphysics, 
two  to   On  the  Soul,  and  single  citations  to  the  Physics,   On  the  Heavens,  and  the 


Book  I 

tate  to  modify  his  source  material  to  suit  his  own  purposes.  For 
example,  the  important  distinction  in  Book  I  between  "the  law  of 
reason"  and  "human  positive  law"  is  ultimately  grounded  in  Aristot- 
le's distinction  in  the  Nicomachean  Ethics  between  the  two  kinds  of 
political  justice,  natural  and  conventional,  but  while  Hooker's  elabora- 
tion of  "the  law  of  reason"  plays  a  prominent  role  in  Book  I,  Aristotle 
only  briefly  discusses  "natural  justice"  on  an  obscure  page  of  the 
Ethics.  Or  again,  Hooker  immediately  modifies  his  appropriation  of 
Aristotle's  teaching  about  the  natural  and  rational  origin  of  the  state  as 
set  forth  in  the  Politics  by  setting  it  side  by  side  with  a  theory  of  the 
voluntary  origin  of  socio-political  institutions  in  the  consent  of  the 
governed  and  the  Christian-Augustinian  doctrine  that  the  state  is  a 
divinely  appointed  punishment  and  remedy  for  human  sin. 

Although  Hooker  specifically  denies  the  Platonic  doctrine  of  innate 
ideas  (1.6.1;  1:74.17-28),  the  references  in  Book  I  to  the  works  of 
Plato  and  the  neoplatonists  further  show  that  he  was  by  no  means 
exclusive  in  his  appropriation  of  the  Aristotelian-Thomistic  synthe- 
sis. There  are  references  to  four  of  Plato's  dialogues,  although  one 
or  more  of  these  was  probably  derived  from  the  Eclogues  of  Stobaeus. 
There  is  one  reference  to  the  De  dogmatibus  Platonis  of  "Alcinous" 
(apparently  a  misnomer  for  Albinus).  He  refers  six  times  to  the  so- 
called  Hermetic  literature,  The  Poemander  or  The  Shepherd,  attributed 
by  Hooker  and  his  contemporaries  to  the  legendary  Egyptian  sage 
Hermes  Trismegistus  as  the  earliest  teacher  of  universal  human  wis- 

spurious  Rhetoric  to  Alexander.  There  are  two  further  references  to  the  commentary  on 
Aristotle's  Metaphysics  written  by  his  disciple  and  successor,  Theophrastus. 

Olivier  Loyer  noted  that  this  fusion  of  Platonic  with  Aristotelian  sources 
illustrates  Hooker's  characteristic  holding  of  two  opposed  traditions  in  suspension;  see 
L'Anglicanisme  de  Richard  Hooker,  2:684-685,  and  741,  n.  46.  Paul  Oskar  Kristeller  has 
established  the  continuing  importance  of  the  Aristotelian  tradition  alongside  the  revival 
of  Platonism  during  the  Renaissance,  together  with  the  thoroughgoing  eclecticism  in 
method  and  content  of  both  these  traditions,  in  Renaissance  Thought:  The  Classic, 
Scholastic,  and  Humanistic  Strains  (New  York:  Harper  &  Row,  1961),  esp.  pp.  24-69. 
See  also  Charles  B.  Schmitt,  Aristotle  and  the  Renaissance  (Cambridge:  Harvard  Univer- 
sity Press,  1983),  and  James  McConica,  "Humanism  and  Aristode  in  Tudor  Oxford," 
English  Historical  Review,  94  (1979):  291-317. 



dom,  and  to  the  Carmina  Orphei  or  Orphic  Hymns — all  works  written  by 
neoplatonist  philosophers  during  the  second  and  third  centuries.  There 
is  also  an  important  footnote  (l:84.m)  where  Hooker  cites,  in  the 
midst  of  several  other  authorities,  De  religione  Christiana  by  the  Floren- 
tine Platonist,  Marsilio  Ficino,  and  the  Compendium  by  the  German 
Cardinal  Nicolas  of  Cusa,  whose  mystical  theology  was  heavily  influ- 
enced by  neoplatonism  (see  1:84.2—3,  m,  and  n). 

In  addition  to  works  by  Aristotle  and  Plato  and  their  disciples, 
Hooker's  other  classical  sources  in  Book  I  include  Homer's  Iliad, 
Sophocles's  Antigone,  Hesiod's  Theogony,  Hippocrates's  Regimen, 
Strabo's  De  situ  orbis,  Stobaeus's  Eclogues,  Virgil's  Aeneid,  and  Sallust's 
Bellum  Catilinae.  The  quotations  from  Homer  and  Virgil  may  be 
directly  recalled  from  his  own  early  reading,  but  the  quotation  from 
Sophocles  is  from  Aristotle's  Rhetoric  (see  1:90.9—11,  e,  and  n),  the 
reference  to  the  ancient  Greek  sage  and  dictator,  Pittacus  of  Mitylene 
in  Lesbos,  is  probably  also  at  second  hand  (l:66.7.n),  and  he  acknowl- 
edges that  the  reference  to  the  celebrated  Athenian  sculptor  Phidias  is 
borrowed  from  Aristotle's  Politics  (1:103.33-104.4,  h,  and  n).  What- 
ever the  origin  of  Hooker's  acquaintance  with  these  particular  writers, 
Basil  Willey  has  demonstrated  how  skilfully  Hooker  employs  them  to 
shore  up  the  foundation  for  his  argument  against  the  disciplinarians. 

Hooker's  classical  sources  also  include  four  references  to  Cicero's  De 
legibus,  De  officiis,  and  Libri  .  .  .  Tusculanarum  quaestionum  ad  M.  Brutum. 
Not  only  does  Cicero  the  orator  lie  behind  Hooker  the  literary  stylist, 
but  he  is  an  essential  part  of  the  specific  philosophical  content  of  Book 
I  as  well.  In  concert  with  other  Renaissance  humanists  who  idealized 
Cicero,  Hooker  attempted  to  imitate  his  synthesis  of  the  oratorical  art 
of  persuasion  with  the  wisdom  of  the  philosophers.      It  was  Cicero 

See  "Humanism  and  Hooker"  in  The  English  Moralists  (New  York:  W.  W. 
Norton;  London:  Chatto  &  Windus,  1964),  pp.  100-123.  Robert  K.  Faulkner  showed 
how  Hooker  shapes  his  pagan  sources  to  create  more  agreement  than  actually  existed; 
see  Richard  Hooker  and  the  Politics  of  a  Christian  England  (Berkeley  and  Los  Angeles: 
University  of  California  Press,  1981),  pp.  26-27. 

On  the  origins  and  significance  of  this  synthesis,  see  Jerrold  E.  Seigel,  Rhetoric 
and  Philosophy  in  Renaissance  Humanism:  The  Union  of  Eloquence  and  Wisdom,  Petrarch  to 
Valla  (Princeton:  Princeton  University  Press,  1968);  see  also  McGrade,  An  Abridged 


Book  I 

more  than  any  other  who  gave  to  the  Stoic  doctrine  of  "natural  law" 
the  formulation  in  which  it  was  to  become  universally  known  through- 
out Western  Europe  and  from  whom  it  passed  to  Roman  lawyers  and 
to  the  church  Fathers. 

Hooker  cites  the  works  of  two  ancient  Jewish  scholars,  Josephus's 
Jewish  Antiquities  and  Philo's  Life  of  Moses.  Among  the  works  of  the 
church  Fathers,  those  by  Augustine  clearly  predominate,  although 
there  are  single  references  to  Tertullian,  Ambrose,  Lactantius,  Theo- 
doret,  Clement  of  Alexandria,  and  Boethius.  He  does  not  acknowl- 
edge the  derivation  of  the  well-known  passage,  "Now  if  nature  should 
intermit  her  course  . . . ,"  from  Adversus  Gentes  by  Arnobius  of  Sicca 
(3.2;  l:65.20-66.6.n). 

Hooker  also  alludes  to  an  ancient  legend  about  Dionysius  the  Areo- 
pagite,  the  Greek  who  was  supposedly  converted  and  then  appointed 
first  bishop  of  Athens  by  the  Apostle  Paul  and  who  was  said  while  in 
Egypt  to  have  observed  and  commented  upon  an  eclipse  of  the  sun  at 
the  time  of  the  crucifixion.  A  number  of  mystical  works  were  later 
pseudonymously  attributed  to  him,  including  Hie  Celestial  Hierarchy,  a 
work  which  sets  forth  a  world  view  presupposed  by  Hooker  not  only  in 
his  elaboration  of  the  nature  and  kinds  of  law  in  Book  I  but  throughout 
the  remaining  parts  of  the  Lawes  as  well. 

That  the  Lawes  is  a  product  of  the  Temple  law  schools,  where 
Hooker  was  master  of  the  Temple  church  from  1585  to  1591,  is 
confirmed  by  the  number  and  variety  of  his  legal  sources.  He  has 
drawn  upon  the  political  philosophy  of  Plato,  Aristotle,  Augustine,  and 
Aquinas,  upon  the  digests  of  Roman  law,  the  canons  of  the  church, 
the  political  theories  derived  from  the  growth  of  nationalism  and 
Protestantism,  and  the  whole  history  of  English  law  from  the  Norman 
Conquest  and  Magna  Carta  to  the  statutes  of  the  realm  and  the  Acts 
of  Supremacy  and  Uniformity. 

In  Book  I  there  are  five  references  to  the  Roman  law  {Corpus  juris 
civilis).  Such  familiarity  is  especially  significant  because  the  concept  of 
"natural  right"  (Jus  naturale)  is  invoked  in  the  introduction  to  justify 

Edition,  pp.  37—38,  Forte,  "Hooker  as  Preacher,"  5:657—682,  this  edn.,  and  Archer, 
Richard  Hooker,  p.  124. 



the  reasonableness  and  universal  value  of  the  Roman  system  as  the  law 
of  an  international  civilization  (Jus  gentium).  Although  Hooker  has  only 
a  single  reference  to  canon  law,  from  the  beginning  of  Gratian's  De- 
cretum,  and  that  probably  derived  from  Aquinas,  who  twice  quotes  the 
text  in  his  discussion  of  law  in  the  Summa  theologies,  the  reference 
makes  the  crucial  identification  of  "the  law  of  reason  or  nature"  with 
the  law  of  the  prophets  of  ancient  Israel  and  the  Gospel  itself. 
Hooker  makes  but  one  indirect  reference  to  an  Elizabethan  statute — 
one  regulating  trade  and  diet.  He  also  cites  a  digest  of  criminal  law 
published  by  the  sixteenth-century  judge  William  Staunford  under  the 
title  Les  Plees  del  Coron  (1557),  as  well  as  the  anti-Roman  Disputations 
against  Bellarmine  on  Holy  Scripture  (1588)  by  the  Calvinist  professor  of 
theology  at  Cambridge,  William  Whitaker.  Among  other  works 
Hooker  does  not  acknowledge  that  almost  certainly  influenced  the 
structure  and  content  of  Book  I,  special  mention  must  be  made  of 
Doctor  and  Student,  or  Dialogues  between  a  Doctor  of  Divinity  and  a  Student 
in  the  Laws  of  England  by  the  barrister  of  the  Inner  Temple,  Christo- 
pher Saint  German  (see  n.  34,  below);  the  1574  homily,  "An  Exhor- 
tacion  concernyng  Good  Ordre  and  Obedience  to  Rulers  and  Magis- 
trates" (see  n.  32,  below);  and  the  Answere  to  ...  an  Admonition  (1572) 
and  the  Defense  of  the  Aunswere  (1574)  by  John  Whitgift. 

Hi.  The  Argument 

Having  determined  that  the  basic  difference  between  the  supporters 
of  the  established  church  and  the  disciplinarians  was  ultimately 
grounded  more  in  a  different  understanding  of  the  nature  and  authori- 
ty of  law  than  in  a  disagreement  over  specific  regulations  having  to  do 
with  the  particular  rites,  customs,  and  orders  of  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land, Hooker  states  in  the  opening  chapter  the  rationale  for  writing 
the  first  book,  namely,  that  the  resolution  of  controversy  can  be 
attained  only  by  going  to  the  foundation  or  root  of  the  subject  matter 
under  dispute  (§  2;  1:57.6-20).  Hooker  thus  attempts  in  subsequent 
chapters  to  identify  broader  and  more  sufficient  principles  which,  if 

28  Hooker  also  cites  a  work  on  the  Apostolic  Councils  written  by  the  twelfth- 
century  Byzantine  canonist  and  historian,  Johannes  Zonoras. 


Book  I 

mutually  agreed  upon,  could  provide  a  surer  foundation  for  peaceful 
coexistence.  The  search  for  such  common  first  principles  leads  him 
into  a  discussion  not  only  of  the  general  nature  and  different  kinds  of 
law  but  also  of  the  potentialities  of  human  nature  (even  after  the  fall 
into  sin)  and  of  the  origins  and  nature  of  political  societies.  Behind  the 
exposition  of  all  these  interrelated  themes  there  can  be  discerned  a 
conjunctive  view  of  the  relation  between  grace  and  nature,  between 
reason  and  will,  and  between  Scripture  and  reason  that  is  closer  to  the 
position  of  Aquinas  than  to  the  more  disjunctive  perspective  of  his 
Calvinist  antagonists. 

Eternal  Law 

Beginning  with  the  teleological  premise  derived  from  Aristotle  and 
Aquinas  that  everything  that  exists  has  "some  foreconceaved  ende  for 
which  it  worketh"  (2.1;  1:58.24),  Hooker  sets  forth  his  general  defini- 
tion of  law  as  "that  which  doth  assigne  unto  each  thing  the  kinde,  that 
which  doth  moderate  the  force  and  power,  that  which  doth  appoint 
the  forme  and  measure  of  working"  (1:58.26-29).  This  definition 
emphasizes  the  rationality  of  law,  for  its  essence  is  conceived  of  not  so 
much  as  a  series  of  promulgations  as  an  inherently  appropriate  pattern 
of  behavior  whereby  all  things  are  directed  "in  the  means  whereby 
they  tend  to  their  own  perfection."  It  is  therefore  not  surprising  to 
find  Hooker  formally  and  explicitly  rejecting  the  voluntarist  and 
nominalist  emphasis  on  God's  will  at  the  expense  of  God's  reason: 
"They  erre  therefore  who  thinke  that  of  the  will  of  God  to  do  this  or 
that,  there  is  no  reason  besides  his  will"  (2.5;  1:61.18-19).  For  Hook- 
er, as  for  Aquinas,  law  is  grounded  on  reason  (aliquid  rationis);  the 
divine  will  always  acts  following  the  divine  reason,  and  all  law  has  its 
origin  in  an  ultimate  law  sustained  by  the  divine  will  because  it  is 

Hooker's  initial  broad  definition  of  the  general  nature  of  law  is 
distinctive  in  that  it  does  not  presuppose  the  traditional  idea  of  a 
superior  imposing  his  will  upon  inferiors  and  the  coercive  sanctioning 

But  see  Egil  Grislis,  Introduction  to  the  Commentary,  Tractates  and  Sermons, 
5:630-634,  this  edn. 



of  the  imposition  of  that  will  by  reward  and  punishment  (see  n.  11, 
above).  Its  most  important  consequence  is  that  it  enables  him  to  apply 
the  notion  of  law  not  only  to  the  external  activity  but  also  to  the 
being  of  God,  whose  perfect  nature  is  conceived  of  as  "a  kinde  of 
lawe  to  his  working."  That  God  himself  is  a  rational  being  who 
voluntarily  chooses  to  observe  the  law  of  his  own  inner  nature  was 
intended  to  imply  that  the  perceived  inclination  of  the  disciplinarians 
toward  civil  disobedience  and  finally  rebellion  is  not  only  against  a 
legitimately  established  social  order  but  against  the  metaphysical  order 
as  well. 

The  initial  nonauthoritarian  definition  of  law  is  important  for  the 
distinction  Hooker  makes  between  the  first  and  the  second  eternal 
laws,      for  it  is  broad  enough  to  apply  to  his  conception  of  the  first 

The  distinction  is  not  found  in  traditional  Augustinian  or  Thomist  teaching; 
Hooker  introduces  it  primarily  to  show  that  contingent  natural  events  and  human  sin 
when  they  occur  are  somehow  ordered  within  the  first  eternal  law  even  though  they 
are  not  conformable  to  the  second  (3.1;  63.26-64.3  and  s).  The  distinction  may  reflect 
that  of  the  scholastics  between  God's  absolute  power  (potentia  absoluta)  and  his 
ordained  power  {potentia  ordinata);  see  McGrade,  An  Abridged  Edition,  p.  17,  and  Loyer, 
2:675-676.  That  distinction  had  its  origin  in  the  late  eleventh  century  and  was  the 
common  property  of  the  schools  from  the  twelfth  century  on,  included  in  the  works 
of  Albert  the  Great  and  of  Aquinas;  it  was  used  to  make  the  point  that  the  present 
created  order  that  God  has  established  was  not  necessarily  determined  but  freely 
chosen  by  the  divine  will.  From  the  late  thirteenth  century  onwards,  beginning  with 
Duns  Scotus,  who  elevated  to  the  status  of  a  metaphysical  principle  the  Augustinian 
emphasis  on  the  primacy  of  the  divine  will  over  the  divine  intellect,  and  continuing 
through  William  of  Ockham  and  Gabriel  Biel  to  Luther  and  Calvin,  the  voluntarist 
and  nominalist  tradition  used  this  distinction  to  stress  the  omnipotence  and  sovereignty 
of  God  and  the  conception  of  law  as  imposed  upon  the  world  by  the  divine  will;  see 
Heiko  A.  Oberman,  The  Harvest  of  Medieval  Theology  (Cambridge:  Harvard  University 
Press,  1963),  pp.  30-56,  90-119. 

One  interpretation  of  the  scholastic  distinction  between  God's  potentia  absoluta  and 
his  potentia  ordinata  holds  that  all  that  happens  in  the  created  order  (including  miracles) 
falls  under  God's  potentia  ordinata;  in  this  framework,  Hooker's  first  and  second  eternal 
laws  belong  to  this  order.  Another  interpretation  of  this  distinction,  however,  argues 
that  God's  ordained  power  determines  what  normally  does  or  should  occur  in  creation, 
while  occurrences  outside  the  natural  order  are  ascribed  to  God's  absolute  power,  see 
William  J.  Courtenay,  "Nominalism  and  Late  Medieval  Religion,"  The  Pursuit  of 
Holiness  in  Late  Medieval  and  Renaissance  Religion,  ed.  Charles  Trinkaus  with  Heiko 
Oberman  (Leiden:  Brill,  1974),  pp.  37—43.  Hooker  appears  to  have  this  latter  interpre- 


Book  I 

eternal  law  as  that  which  guides  all  the  external  operations  by  which 
God  has  voluntarily  chosen  to  govern  the  world.  Hooker  assumes 
these  rationally  grounded  operations  freely  affirmed  by  the  divine  will 
under  his  final  definition  of  eternal  law  as  "that  order  which  God  before 
all  ages  hath  set  down  with  himselfe,  for  himselfe  to  do  all  things  by"  (2.6; 
1:63.2—3).  However,  Hooker  immediately  reintroduces  the  notions  of 
superior  authority  into  his  conception  of  law  when  he  discusses  the 
more  traditional  understanding  of  the  (second)  "law  eternal"  as  that 
order  which  God  has  determined  to  be  most  "expedient  to  be  kept  by 
all  his  creatures,  according  to  the  severall  condition  wherwith  he  hath 
indued  them"  (3.1;  1:63.9—10).  It  is  this  aspect  of  the  second  eternal 
law  that  pertains  to  the  sphere  of  human  political  activity  and,  more 
specifically,  to  the  legislative  power  of  the  whole  community  over  the 
individuals  who  constitute  its  members,  where  Hooker  later  emphasiz- 
es the  exercise  of  constraining  force  by  legitimate  authority  as  an 
essential  property  that  distinguishes  law  from  "counsel"  or  "monition" 
(10.7-8;  compare  VIII.6.11). 

Hooker  concludes  his  discussion  of  eternal  law  by  dividing  the 
second  eternal  law,  which  is  itself  ordered  by  the  first,  into  subcate- 
gories that  set  forth  the  basic  outline  of  the  remaining  chapters  of 
Book  I,  namely:  the  law  of  nature,  which  orders  nonintellectual  and 
nonvoluntary  natural  agents  (the  remainder  of  chap.  3);  celestial  law, 
which  orders  the  angels  (chap.  4);  the  law  of  reason,  which  orders 
human  beings  in  this  world  as  reasonable  and  morally  responsible 
creatures  (chaps.  5—9);  human  law,  which  is  derived  from  the  law  of 
reason  and  expediency  (chap.  10);  and  divine  law,  which  also  orders 
human  beings  in  this  world  but  which  is  known  by  God's  special 
revelation  in  the  Scriptures  (chaps.  11-15). 

tation  in  mind  when  he  describes  the  traditional  idea  of  eternal  law  ("this  second  law 
etemall")  as  "that  which  .  .  .  [God]  hath  set  downe  as  expedient  to  be  kept  by  all  his 
creatures"  (3.1;  63.8-9),  but  finds  a  more  basic  law  ("the  first  etemall  lawe")  to  which 
"even  those  things  which  to  this  [second]  etemall  law  are  not  conformable,  are 
notwithstanding  in  some  sort  ordered"  (63.27-29).  This  more  basic  law  (Hooker's  first 
eternal  law)  is  that  in  accordance  with  which  "God  doth  worke,"  while  "the  lawe 
which  God  hath  imposed  upon  his  creatures"  (the  traditional  idea  of  eternal  law) 
becomes  for  Hooker  a  second  eternal  law. 



The  Law  of  (Physical)  Nature  and  Celestial  Law 

Hooker  further  departs  from  Aquinas  by  introducing  notions  of 
"the  law  of  nature"  and  "the  celestial  law"  as  distinct  from  "the  law 
of  reason."  For  Aquinas,  "natural  law"  is  the  participation  of  intellec- 
tual creatures  (angels  and  human  beings)  in  God's  eternal  law;  other 
creatures  can  be  said  to  keep  law  only  by  analogy  (per  similitudinem). 
But  in  chapter  3,  Hooker  defines  "the  law  of  nature"  or  "natures  law" 
as  the  keeping  of  the  second  eternal  law  by  "naturall  agents,  which 
keepe  the  law  of  their  kind  unwittingly"  (1:64.6-7).  Although  this 
usage  is  peculiar  and  restricted  to  Book  I,  it  is  among  the  earliest 
modern  uses  of  the  concept  of  "the  law  of  nature"  to  refer  to  the 
regularity  of  the  physical  universe — a  usage  which  contributed  to  the 
emergence  of  a  more  dynamic  view  of  the  cosmos  and  predisposed 
subsequent  Anglican  theologians  to  assimilate  the  work  of  natural 

Hooker's  main  point  in  the  section  on  "natures  law"  is  that  all 
created  things  in  the  cosmos,  including  nonintellectual  and  nonvolun- 
tary entities,  are  ordered  in  their  behavior  by  a  rational  law  that  has 
been  implanted  as  a  directive  throughout  the  universe.  He  acknowl- 
edges that  there  are  in  nature  what  appear  to  be  "defects"  which  even 
the  heathen  have  often  observed;  but  their  true  cause  in  the  divine 
malediction  of  nature  because  of  human  sin,  revealed  by  God  in 
Scripture  to  the  church  as  an  article  of  saving  truth,  eluded  "their 
meerely  naturall  capacitie  and  understanding"  (3.3;  1:66.15—22). 

In  an  especially  important  passage  where  he  is  elucidating  "the  law 
of  [physical]  nature,"  Hooker  distinguishes  his  teleological  view  based 
upon  Aristotelian  and  Thomistic  premises  from  any  Platonic  theory 
that  finds  the  order  in  nature  rooted  in  the  "imitation  of"  or  "partici- 
pation in"  the  eternal  ideas  (exemplary  draughts)  by  individual  things 
(3.4;  1:66.31—67.9).  And  in  an  often  quoted  passage,  which  paraphrases 
a  section  from  Arnobius's  Aduersus  gentes,  Hooker  speculates  upon  the 
chaos  that  would  ensue  "if  nature  should-  intermit  her  course,  and 
leave  altogether,  though  it  were  but  for  a  while,  the  observation  of  her 
own  lawes"  (3.2;  1:65.20-66.6).  The  polemical  implications  of  this 

31  S.T.,  la2ae.91.2. 


Book  I 

discussion  of  nature's  law  are  revealed  when  Hooker  distinguishes 
between  the  law  of  "naturall  agents  considered  in  themselves  . . . 
which  directeth  them  in  the  meanes  whereby  they  tende  to  their 
owne  perfection,"  and  "another  law  . . .  which  toucheth  them  as  they 
are  sociable  partes  united  into  one  bodie,  a  lawe  which  bindeth  them 
each  to  serve  unto  others  good,  and  all  to  preferre  the  good  of  the 
whole  before  whatsoever  their  owne  particular"  (3.5;  1:69.6—14). 
Hooker  again  departs  from  his  medieval  sources  in  specifying  a  distinct 
celestial  law,  applicable  exclusively  to  angels,  that  orders  the  nine 
angelic  choirs.  He  does  so,  not  simply  because  it  is  an  essential  part  of 
his  hierarchical  view  of  the  world  in  terms  of  "the  great  chain  of  be- 
ing," but  because  the  conception  of  the  society  of  angels  as  a  series 
of  voluntarily  ordered,  interlocking  hierarchies  justifies  the  obedience 
of  inferiors  to  superiors  on  many  different  levels,  including  (by  analo- 
gy) human  society  in  general  and  the  church  in  particular.  Further- 
more, and  again  by  analogy,  those  men  who  oppose  the  laws  of 
society  are  in  danger  of  aligning  themselves  with  the  most  dramatic 
example  of  disobedience  in  the  universe,  namely,  those  "wicked 
spirits"  who,  having  fallen  through  pride  from  the  love  of  God,  have 
since  labored  by  all  possible  means  "to  effect  an  universall  rebellion 
against  the  lawes,  and,  as  farre  as  in  them  lyeth,  utter  destruction  of 
the  workes  of  God"  (4.3;  1:72.4—23).  Consideration  of  the  lawful 
operations  of  the  angels  in  chapter  4  makes  the  same  point  as  the 

Compare  the  language  and  content  of  the  argument  set  forth  in  "An  Exhorta- 
cion  concernyng  Good  Ordre  and  Obedience  to  Rulers  and  Magistrates,"  the  1547 
Homily  appointed  to  be  read  in  the  churches,  in  Ronald  B.  Bond,  ed.,  "Certain  Sermons 
or  Homilies"  (1547)  and  "A  Homily  against  Disobedience  and  Wilful  Rebellion"  (1570) 
(Toronto:  University  of  Toronto  Press,  1987),  pp.  161-170.  Christopher  Morris 
commented  on  this  homily  in  Political  Thought  in  England:  Tyndale  to  Hooker,  pp.  73-75. 

See  Arthur  O.  Lovejoy,  The  Great  Chain  of  Being:  A  Study  in  the  History  of  an 
Idea  (1936;  rpr.  New  York:  Harper  &  Brothers,  1960);  E.  M.  W.  Tillyard,  The 
Elizabethan  World  Picture  (1943;  2nd  ed.,  London:  Chatto  &  Windus,  1960);  and 
George  C.  Herndl,  The  High  Design:  English  Renaissance  Tragedy  and  the  Natural  Law 
(Lexington:  University  Press  of  Kentucky,  1970),  pp.  1-2,  22—28.  For  a  discussion  of 
the  difference  between  views  of  order  held  by  supporters  of  the  establishment  and  the 
Puritans,  see  David  Little,  Religion,  Order  and  Law:  A  Study  in  Pre-Revolutionary  England 
(New  York:  Harper  Torchbooks,  1969;  Oxford:  Basil  Blackwell,  1970),  pp.  149-153. 



analysis  of  the  ordered  behavior  of  natural  agents  in  chapter  3;  both 
constitute  parts  of  a  hierarchical  world  view  which  illuminates  by 
analogy  the  intrinsic  goodness  of  reasonably  regulated  life  and  the 
intrinsic  evil  of  rebellious  disobedience. 

The  Law  of  Reason 

In  chapter  5,  Hooker  finally  conies  to  the  law  whereby  human 
beings  obey  God.  The  "natural  law"  of  Aquinas,  conceived  as  the 
participation  of  rational  and  voluntary  creatures  (angels  and  humans), 
becomes  "the  law  of  reason"  in  Hooker.  His  first  use  of  the  concept 
of  a  law  of  nature  in  chapter  1  is  in  contrast  to  eternal  law  on  the  one 
side  and  divine  law,  revealed  in  Scripture,  on  the  other;  it  designates 
the  law  that  rules  the  natural  order  of  things  (1:58.16).  At  the  begin- 
ning of  chapter  3  (1:63.17-18,  64.3—12),  he  limits  the  concept  to  the 
law  which  governs  natural  agents  in  the  physical  universe.  In  chapters 
5  through  9,  he  clearly  distinguishes  this  more  restricted  usage  of 
"natural  law"  from  the  "law  of  reason"  which  pertains  specifically  to 
human  beings.     However,  in  passages  scattered  throughout  the  Lawes 

The  most  likely  origin  of  Hooker's  distinction  between  "the  law  of  nature" 
regulating  the  behavior  of  natural  agents  and  "the  law  of  reason"  directing  human 
beings  is  the  English  common  law  tradition  and,  more  specifically,  Christopher  St. 
German's  Doctor  and  Student  (first  published  in  Latin  in  1523  and  in  English  in 
1530/1531;  for  the  sixteenth-century  bibliographical  history  of  this  frequendy 
reprinted  work,  see  revised  STC,  2:297),  ed.  T.  F.  T.  Plucknett  and  J.  L.  Barton 
(London:  Selden  Society,  1974),  Dialogue  I,  chaps.  1-15,  pp.  8-95.  Exemplifying  the 
attempt  of  English  common  lawyers  to  appropriate  the  medieval  concepts  of  nature 
and  reason  embodied  in  the  canon  law  tradition  into  the  theoretical  framework  of  the 
customary  law  already  long  in  existence,  St.  German  in  this  treatise  points  out  that  the 
words  "reason"  and  "reasonable"  denote  for  common  lawyers  the  ideas  which  the 
civilian  or  canonist  puts  under  "the  law  of  nature."  St.  German  begins  his  appropria- 
tion of  "reason"  into  common  law  by  setting  forth  an  essentially  medieval  scheme  of 
fourfold  law:  law  eternal,  divine,  rational,  and  human.  Turning  to  human  laws,  the 
student  states  that  in  England  law  is  grounded  on  six  principles:  the  law  of  reason,  the 
law  of  God,  custom,  maxims,  local  customs,  and  statutes.  On  the  relation  of  St. 
German  and  common  law  to  the  law  of  reason  in  Hooker,  see  George  W.  Keaton, 
The  Norman  Conquest  and  the  Common  Law  (London:  Ernest  Benn,  1966),  pp.  215— 
218,  and  Lawrence  Manley,  Convention:  1500-1750  (Cambridge:  Harvard  University 
Press,  1980),  pp.  100-101. 


Book  I 

and  including  Book  I  itself,  Hooker  reverts  to  the  traditional  Thomis- 
tic  usage  of  "natural  law"  to  designate  "the  law  of  reason."  The 
discussion  of  the  law  of  reason  here  is  intended  to  provide  a  philo- 
sophical basis  for  a  universal  law  that  can  be  known  by  human  reason 
apart  from  its  being  exclusively  revealed  in  the  Scriptures  as  a  part  of 
the  divine  law,  and  at  least  partially  observed  through  the  exercise  of 
a  free  will  damaged  but  not  incapacitated  by  the  human  fall  into  sin. 
Nevertheless,  Hooker's  identification  of  the  law  of  reason  as  the 
cornerstone  of  his  defense  of  the  established  church  should  not  imply 
that  his  opponents  totally  abolished  reason  from  the  realm  of  religion, 
that  there  was  no  place  in  their  view  of  the  universe  for  law  and 
order,  that  they  were  against  law  and  order  in  church  and  state,  or  that 
there  was  no  place  for  any  concept  of  natural  or  right  reason  in  their 
ethical  or  political  theories.  What  was  really  involved  in  the  contro- 
versy was  the  difference  between  two  natural  law  traditions.  Hooker 
stands  predominantly  within  the  medieval  rationalist  and  realist  tradi- 
tion represented  by  Aquinas,  while  the  magisterial  Protestant  Reform- 
ers and  their  disciplinarian  progeny  stand  squarely  in  the  camp  of  the 
medieval  voluntarists  and  nominalists. 

35  See,  for  example,  1.10.5;  100.17,  and  12.1  and  2;  119.4  and  120.21. 
J.  W.  Allen  and  Cargill  Thompson  each  observed  that  a  theory  of  natural  law 
was  held  just  as  strongly,  if  not  always  as  consistently,  by  Protestants  as  by  Roman 
Catholics  in  the  sixteenth  century;  Allen,  A  History  of  Political  Thought  in  the  Sixteenth 
Century  (1928;  rpr.  London:  Methuen,  1960),  p.  188,  and  Cargill  Thompson, 
"Philosopher  of  the  'Politic  Society,'  "  S.R.H.,  pp.  29—31;  Studies  in  the  Reformation, 
pp.  155—157.  Both  are  misleading,  however,  when  they  argue  that  there  is  no  substan- 
tial difference  between  Hooker's  conception  of  natural  law  and  that  held  by  all  the 
leading  Reformers.  It  is  not  just  a  matter  of  their  emphasizing  more  than  Hooker  the 
obscuring  of  the  knowledge  of  natural  law  principles  as  a  result  of  human  sin,  nor  is 
it  simply  a  matter  of  Hooker's  demonstrating  a  greater  respect  for  the  power  of 
human  reason  than  they  and  their  successors  did.  The  major  difference  is  that  Hooker 
stands  within  a  school  of  natural  law  that  regards  the  essence  of  law  as  something 
rational  (aliquid  rationis)  while  the  Reformers  and  disciplinarians  stand  within  that  of 
the  voluntarist-nominalist  school  that  regards  the  essence  of  law  as  a  command 
sanctioned  by  reward  and  punishment.  On  the  significance  of  the  medieval  debate 
between  rationalists  and  voluntarists  over  the  status  of  universal  concepts  for  the 
interpretation  of  natural  law,  see  Otto  von  Gierke,  Political  Theories  of  the  Middle  Ages, 
trans.  Frederic  William  Maitland  (1900;  rpr.  Boston:  Beacon  Press,  1958),  pp.  172- 
174;  H.  A.  Rommen,  The  Natural  Law,  trans.  T.  R.  Hanley  (London,  1947),  pp.  62 



Hooker's  intellectualist  predisposition  is  apparent  in  his  exposition 
of  how  the  law  of  reason  conies  to  be  known  and  observed.  In  his 
conception  the  law  of  reason  judges  the  goodness  of  human  action: 
"For  the  lawes  of  well  doing  are  the  dictates  of  right  reason"  (7.4; 
1:79.11-12).  Beginning  in  chapter  5  with  the  Aristotelian  and 
Thomistic  principle  that  all  things  have  an  appetite  toward  perfection 
that  manifests  itself  as  the  striving  to  fully  actualize  their  potentiality, 

ff.;  and  A.  P.  D'Entreves,  Natural  Law:  An  Historical  Survey  (1951;  rpr.  New  York: 
Harper  &  Row,  1965),  pp.  68-70. 

On  the  voluntarist  interpretation  of  natural  law,  see  Georges  de  Lagarde,  Reserches 
sur  I'esprit  politique  de  la  Riforme  pouai,  1926),  pp.  147-187;  W.  Komel,  "Von 
Ockham  zu  Gabriel  Biel;  Zur  Naturrechtslehre  des  14.  und  15.  Jahrhunderts,"  Fran- 
ziskanische  Studien,  37  (1955):  218-259;  and  Francis  Oakley,  "Christian  Theology  and 
the  Newtonian  Science:  The  Rise  of  the  Concept  of  the  Laws  of  Nature,"  Church 
History,  30  (1961):  433—457,  "Medieval  Theories  of  Natural  Law:  William  of  Ockham 
and  the  Significance  of  the  Voluntarist  Tradition,"  Natural  Law  Forum,  6  (1961):  65- 
83,  and  "Law  Natural  and  Divine,"  chap.  6,  The  Political  Thought  of  Pierre  d'Ailly:  The 
Voluntarist  Tradition  (New  Haven:  Yale  University  Press,  1964),  pp.  163-197. 

Calvin's  attitude  toward  natural  law,  like  that  of  Luther,  has  been  variously 
interpreted.  August  Lang  argued  that  "in  distinction  from  Melanchthon,  Luther 
attributed  to  it  only  a  subordinate  importance,  Calvin  almost  no  importance  at  all"; 
see  "The  Reformation  and  Natural  Law,"  in  Calvin  and  the  Reformation,  ed.  William 
Park  Armstrong  (New  York,  1909),  pp.  68-69,  72;  see  also  F.  J.  Shirley,  Richard 
Hooker  and  Contemporary  Political  Ideas  (London,  1949),  p.  75,  and  Munz,  The  Place  of 
Hooker  in  the  History  of  Thought,  pp.  140-145.  For  a  more  positive  interpretation  of 
natural  law  in  Calvin's  social  and  political  thought,  see  John  T.  McNeill,  "Natural 
Law  in  the  Teaching  of  the  Reformers,"  The  Journal  of  Religion,  26  (1946):  168-182, 
Giinter  Gloede,  Theologia  Naturalis  bei  Calvin  (Stuttgart,  1935),  pp.  178  ff.,  Josef 
Bohatec,  Calvins  Lehre  von  Staat  und  Kirche  (Breslau,  1937),  pp.  20-35,  and  Emil 
Brunner,  Justice  and  the  Social  Order  (London,  1945),  p.  233. 

Cargill  Thompson  summarized  the  four  main  characteristics  of  the  law  of 
reason:  "first,  it  is  divine,  since  God  is  its  author;  secondly,  it  is  universal,  for  it  is 
binding  on  all  men  as  they  are  rational  beings  and  not  simply  on  Christians;  thirdly, 
it  is  ascertainable  by  the  power  of  reason,  'for  the  Laws  of  well-doing  are  the  dictates 
of  right  Reason';  and  fourthly,  it  is  the  basis  of  all  human  or  positive  laws,  which  are 
deductions  or  extrapolations  from  the  law  of  reason";  S.R.H.,  p.  27;  Studies  in  the 
Reformation,  p.  153.  See  also  Robert  Hoopes,  Right  Reason  in  the  English  Renaissance 
(Cambridge:  Harvard  University  Press,  1962),  pp.  123-127;  and  Joan  Bennett,  Reviv- 
ing Liberty:  Radical  Christian  Humanism  in  Milton's  Great  Poems  (Harvard  University 
Press,  1989),  esp.  pp.  6-17. 


Book  I 

and  arguing  that  God  is  the  ultimate  source  of  all  goodness  and  perfec- 
tion, Hooker  concludes  that  it  is  God  towards  whom  all  things  are 
striving  and  attempting,  each  in  its  own  way,  to  imitate.  He  calls  upon 
Plato  and  Hermes  Trismegistus  to  witness  that  even  heathen  wise  men 
have  recognized  this  yearning  of  all  things  to  participate  in  the  divine 
being  and  that  in  human  beings  this  desire  takes  the  form  of  pursuing 
knowledge  (chap.  6)  and  virtue  (chap.  7). 

Like  all  creatures,  Hooker  argues,  human  beings  actively  seek  the 
highest  good,  namely,  participation  in  God.  Striving  for  the  immor- 
tality of  God  leads  humans  to  share  with  other  creatures  the  drive  for 
self-preservation,  the  lowest  of  human  goods.  Human  beings  also  share 
with  animals  the  faculties  of  "sense"  (external  sense  perception)  and 
"fancy"  (inward  mental  imaging),  but  are  distinct  from  the  brutes  in 
having  reason  that  enables  them  to  reach  higher  than  for  sensible 
things  by  further  illuminating  what  ought  to  be  done  and  what  avoid- 
ed. Although  reason  belongs  to  humans  by  nature,  it  may  be  improved 
through  education  and  made  more  prompt  to  distinguish  truth  from 
error  and  good  from  evil.  In  the  context  of  elaborating  upon  "the 
right  helps  of  true  art  and  learning,"  Hooker  staunchly  defends  the 
Aristotelian  logic  and  the  Ciceronian  rhetoric  which  he  had  been 
taught  at  Oxford  over  against  the  Ramist  innovations  that  had  become 
so  popular  with  the  more  radical  reformers,  especially  at  Cambridge. 

The  higher  goods  transcending  "sense  and  phancy"  whereby  human 
beings  imitate  the  constancy  and  excellence  of  the  activity  of  God  are 
the  knowledge  of  truth  and  the  practice  of  virtue,  the  two  foundations  of 
human  action:  knowledge  enlightens  and  informs  the  soul,  and  will 
sets  it  in  motion.  Following  Aquinas,  Hooker  holds  that  the  human 
will  is  necessarily  disposed  toward  the  good.  Evil  as  such  cannot  be 
desired;  what  humans  desire  is  therefore  always  something  which 
appears  to  be  good,  even  though  it  may  not  really  be  so.  However, 
goodness  must  be  known  before  the  will  can  choose  it.  In  this  con- 
text, Hooker  appropriates  the  Aristotelian  and  Thomistic  distinction 


For  an  analysis  of  how  Hooker  differs  from  Aristotle  on  the  moral  teaching 
concerning  what  is  good  and  how  it  is  grasped  by  a  combination  of  will  and  reason- 
ing, see  Faulkner,  Richard  Hooker  and  the  Politics  of  a  Christian  England,  pp.  61-96. 

On  Hooker's  disparagement  of  "Ramystry,"  see  1.76.9—20  and  n. 



between  appetite,  which  is  determined  by  sense  objects,  and  will, 
which  is  rational  desire  and,  as  appetite's  controller,  determines  itself. 

In  spite  of  the  rather  optimistic  view  of  human  nature  implied  by 
this  rationalist  interpretation  of  the  human  will,  Hooker  is  acutely 
aware  of  original  sin  and  the  after-effects  of  the  fall.  He  admits  that 
sometimes  the  will  is  recalcitrant  and  refuses  to  choose  what  reason 
indicates  as  good.  Or  again,  humans  may  sin  through  laziness  and 
ignorance,  preferring  a  lesser  to  a  greater  good  because  they  have  not 
troubled  to  find  out,  as  they  could  and  should,  the  superiority  of  the 
greater.  The  post-lapsarian  pursuit  of  knowledge  concerning  the  good 
is  now  so  painful  a  thing  that  humans  all  too  often  prefer  darkness  to 
light.  Nevertheless,  the  primary  thrust  of  his  thought  is  that  human 
beings  can  accept  this  "realistic"  analysis  of  the  actual  state  of  things 
without  abandoning  their  belief  in  either  the  strength  and  validity  of 
reason  to  discern  the  difference  between  truth  and  falsehood  and 
between  good  and  evil,  or  in  the  ability  of  the  human  will  (always 
presupposing  the  general  concurrence  of  divine  grace)  to  control  the 
appetite  and  therefore  to  make  tolerably  upright  choices. 

In  chapter  8,  Hooker  sets  forth  "the  naturall  way"  that  human 
reason  goes  about  discovering  the  universal  laws  which  ought  to  guide 
the  will  to  that  which  is  good.  Traditional  patristic  and  medieval 
teaching,  based  upon  a  Platonic  or  Stoic  interpretation  of  Romans 
2:14—16,  was  that  the  knowledge  of  the  natural  moral  law  (Hooker's 
law  of  reason)  was  innate  in  humankind,  since  God  had  implanted  its 
precepts  in  the  hearts  or  minds  of  individual  people.  Hooker  some- 
times adopts  this  traditional  language  and  speaks  of  humans  having 
"written  in  their  hearts  the  universall  law  of  mankind"  (16.5;  1:139.1— 
2),  or  describes  the  law  of  nature  as  "an  infallible  knowledge  imprinted 
in  the  mindes  of  all  the  children  of  men"  (II.8.6;  1:190.12-13).  Yet  in 
his  main  discussion  of  the  law  of  reason  in  Book  I,  where  he  argues 
that  humans  only  grow  to  knowledge  by  degrees,  he  rejects  the  idea 
that  the  knowledge  of  the  principles  of  the  law  of  nature  is  innate  in 
favor  of  the  Aristotelian  dictum  that  at  birth  the  mind  is  a  tabula  rasa, 
"a  booke,  wherein  nothing  is,  and  yet  all  thinges  may  be  imprinted" 
(6.1;  1:74.26-27). 

Again  following  Aquinas,  Hooker  employs  the  Aristotelian  doctrine 


Book  I 

that  as  "in  every  kind  of  knowledge  some  such  grounds  there  are,  as 
that  being  proposed  the  mind  doth  presently  embrace  them  as  free 
from  all  possibilitie  of  error,  cleare  and  manifest  without  proofe"  (8.5; 
1:85.10—13).  He  uses  this  principle  to  argue  that  the  precepts  of  the 
law  of  reason  derive  from  a  series  of  intuitively  self-evident  proposi- 
tions which  human  beings  are  capable  of  discovering  for  themselves 
through  the  natural  light  of  reason.  Some  of  these  principles  are 
more  general  and  have  only  to  be  stated  to  be  acknowledged  as 
universally  true;  for  example:  "the  greater  good  is  to  be  chosen  before 
the  lesse,"  and  the  great  good  attained  through  immediate  hardship  is 
preferable  to  immediate  delight  folio  wed  by  lasting  injury.  Other 
principles  are  less  general  and  yet  still  do  not  need  rational  demonstra- 
tion because  they  are  so  clear.  For  example,  even  "mere  naturall  men" 
without  revelation  have  discovered  by  the  light  of  reason  that  God 
exists,  and  from  this  knowledge  can  deduce  further  laws,  such  as  "God 

For  an  analysis  of  how  Hooker's  theory  of  the  way  the  axioms  of  the  law  of 
reason  are  known  differs  from  those  of  Aquinas  and  Aristotle,  see  Faulkner,  Richard 
Hooker  and  the  Politics  of  a  Christian  England,  pp.  85-86,  and  "Reason  and  Revelation 
in  Hooker's  Ethics,"  American  Political  Science  Review,  59  (1965):  680-690.  Faulkner 
points  out  that  Hooker  does  not  have  a  Thomistic  special  faculty  (synderesis),  which 
grasps  the  first  practical  principles  of  the  natural  moral  law,  nor  does  he  have  a 
concept  of  conscience  (synedesis),  which  applies  those  principles  to  concrete  situations 
through  the  practical  syllogism.  Hooker  is  rather  an  "intuitionist"  who  argues  that  the 
most  general  axioms  of  the  law  of  reason  are  self-evident  and  that  the  less  general  ones 
can  be  deduced  from  such  human  affections  as  the  desire  for  eternal  life.  Linwood 
Urban  treats  the  far-reaching  consequences  of  Hooker's  modification  of  the  Thomist 
position  concerning  the  knowledge  and  application  of  the  general  precepts  of  the  law 
of  reason  in  "A  Revolution  in  English  Morality,"  Anglican  Theological  Review,  53 
(1971):  5-20.  The  fact  that  Hooker  has  no  discussion  of  "synderesis"  and  of  "con- 
science" in  the  scholastic  Thomist  sense,  along  with  Hooker's  use  of  the  words 
"conscience"  and  "heart"  to  refer  metaphorically  to  "feelings"  and  "affections," 
prompted  McGrade  to  compare  Hooker's  exposition  of  philosophy  and  theology  in 
Book  I  of  the  Lawes  with  the  works  of  Cicero:  both  combined  philosophical  wisdom 
with  rhetorical  eloquence,  but  the  final  result  contained  little  of  the  hard  formal 
examination  of  first  principles  that  was  common  in  the  medieval  universities  and  that 
could  still  be  found  on  the  continent  during  the  Reformation;  see  An  Abridged  Edition, 
pp.  37-38. 



is  to  be  worshipped,"  and  with  regard  to  human  interrelationships  that 
"parents  are  to  be  honored,"  and  "others  should  be  used  by  us  as  we 
ourselves  would  by  them." 

Having  rejected  the  concept  of  innate  ideas,  Hooker  suggests  two 
natural  ways  of  knowing  the  dictates  of  right  reason  concerning 
goodness  in  human  action  (8.2;  1:82.27—83.16).  The  first  and  safest 
way  is  to  go  back  to  first  principles  and  determine  by  abstract  reason- 
ing what  the  causes  of  goodness  are.  But,  he  observes,  this  method  is 
so  difficult  that  all  shun  it.  The  second  way  is  to  discover  empirically 
the  signs  always  annexed  to  goodness,  and  especially  the  sign  of 
consensus  concerning  what  all  people  have  thought  the  principles  of 
the  law  of  reason  to  be,  for  "the  most  certaine  token  of  evident 
goodnes  is,  if  the  generall  perswasion  of  all  men  do  so  account  it,"  and 
"the  generall  and  perpetuall  voyce  of  men  is  as  the  sentence  of  God 
him  selfe"  (8.3;  1:83.18—19  and  84.1—2).  This  general  agreement  of 
humankind,  however,  is  itself  ultimately  grounded  in  the  intuitive 
self-evidence  of  the  propositions  under  consideration,  which  has 
persuaded  individual  persons  of  their  validity. 

By  observing  the  axioms  of  this  law,  which,  in  spite  of  the  devas- 
tating consequences  of  sin,  can  still  be  discovered  by  reason  apart  from 
special  divine  revelation,  human  beings  put  themselves  in  conformity 
with  that  eternal  law  by  which  God  has  determined  from  the  begin- 
ning within  himself  to  govern  all  things. 

Human  Law:  The  Origin  of  Government 
Hooker's  inquiry  into  the  hierarchy  of  laws  brings  him  in  chapter 

The  appeal  in  chapter  8  to  consensus  as  a  means  of  determining  the  content  of 
the  law  of  reason  is  most  likely  indebted  to  the  pragmatic  tradition  of  English  com- 
mon law,  and  it  is  closely  associated  with  the  argument  in  chapter  10  on  "human 
law"  that  "consensus"  is  the  source  of  political  power,  and  that  "custom"  as  the 
counsel  of  the  past  for  guidance  in  the  present  is  the  source  of  political  authority.  See 
Manley,  Convention:  1500-1750,  esp.  2.2,  "  'Use  Becomes  Another  Nature':  Custom 
in  Sixteenth-Century  Politics  and  Law,"  pp.  90-106;  and  compare  Egil  Grislis,  "The 
Role  of  Consensus  in  Richard  Hooker's  Method  of  Theological  Inquiry,"  in  The 
Heritage  of  Christian  Thought:  Essays  in  Honor  of  Robert  Lowry  Calhoun,  ed.  Robert  E. 
Cushman  and  Egil  Grislis  (New  York:  Harper  &  Row,  1965),  pp.  64—88. 


Book  I 

10  to  an  explication  of  the  concept  of  "human  law,"  which  he  sets 
in  the  context  of  an  even  broader  theory  concerning  the  nature  of 
"politique  societies"  and  the  related  questions  of  how  and  why  they 
came  into  existence. 

Hooker  weaves  several  divergent  strands  of  political  thought  into  his 
theory  of  the  nature  and  origin  of  the  state.  He  begins  by  identifying 
two  reasons  why  society  requires  government: 

Two  foundations  there  are  which  beare  up  publique  societies,  the 
one,  a  naturall  inclination,  wherby  all  men  desire  sociable  life  and 
fellowship,  the  other  an  order  expresly  or  secretly  agreed  upon, 
touching  the  manner  of  their  union  in  living  together.  (10.1; 
1:96.1 7-20). 43 

The  first  Hooker  derived  from  Aristotle  through  Aquinas,  both  of 
whom  give  a  rational  explanation  of  the  state  that  can  be  justified  on 
an  analysis  of  human  nature  independent  of  divinely  revealed  truths 
and  specifically  Christian  moral  values.  According  to  this  view,  the 
state  and  governmental  authority  are  not  conventional  but  natural  and 
rational,  that  is,  necessary  for  the  fulfilment  of  basic  human  needs  and 
ends.  Like  Aristotle,  Hooker  maintains  that  human  beings  cannot  live 

Cargill  Thompson  described  Hooker's  differentiation  of  human  laws  from  the 
laws  of  reason:  "human  laws  differ  from  the  laws  of  reason  in  three  major  respects: 
first,  they  are  coercive,  for  they  carry  the  sanction  of  positive  force,  and  any  breach  of 
them  will  be  punished  by  the  authority  that  has  appointed  them;  secondly,  they  are 
of  only  local  validity,  for  they  are  binding  only  on  the  society  that  has  made  them  and 
not  on  all  men,  except  in  the  case  of  the  law  of  nations,  which  Hooker  treats 
separately;  thirdly,  insofar  as  they  are  'merely'  human,  they  are  mutable,  for  if 
circumstances  change,  they  can  be  altered";  S.R.H.,  p.  33;  Studies  in  the  Reformation, 
p.  159. 

The  founding  of  the  state  upon  two  such  apparently  self-contradictory  princi- 
ples led  Ernest  Barker  to  judge  Hooker  "a  belated  medievalist"  who  stood  astride 
radically  dissimilar  world  views:  "through  him  the  Aristotelianism  of  the  Middle  Ages 
helped  to  found  a  theory  of  original  contract,  utterly  different  from  itself,  and  bitterly 
hostile  to  its  own  teaching";  The  Political  Thought  of  Plato  and  Aristotle  (1906;  rpr.  New 
York:  Russell  and  Russell,  1959),  p.  509.  Compare  Shirley,  Richard  Hooker  and 
Contemporary  Political  Ideas,  p.  227. 

"Man  is  naturally  a  political  and  social  animal  (as  is  demonstrated  [by  Aristotle] 
in  Book  I  of  Politics)";    S.T.,  la2ae.72.4. 



on  their  own,  and  that  "to  supply  those  defects  and  imperfections, 
which  are  in  us  living,  single,  and  solelie  by  our  selves,  we  are  natural- 
ly induced  to  seeke  communion  and  fellowship  with  others"  (10.1; 

Nevertheless,  the  relative  optimism  implicit  within  this  naturalistic 
view  of  the  origin  of  the  state  is  balanced  by  a  more  realistic  tradition 
that  takes  into  account  that  nature  is  fallen.  Like  Aquinas  before  him, 
Hooker  did  not  believe  that  the  Aristotelian  theory  of  the  natural 
origin  of  the  state  contradicted  the  Augustinian  explanation  of  the  state 
as  a  divinely  appointed  punishment  and  remedy  for  sin.  The  idea  of 
sin  and  its  consequences  was  fundamental  dogma: 

Lawes  politique,  ordeined  for  externall  order  and  regiment 
amongst  men,  are  never  framed  as  they  should  be,  unlesse  pre- 
suming the  will  of  man  to  be  inwardly  obstinate,  rebellious,  and 
averse  from  all  obedience  unto  the  sacred  lawes  of  his  nature;  in 
a  word,  unlesse  presuming  man  to  be  in  regard  of  his  depraved 
minde  little  better  then  a  wild  beast,  they  do  accordingly  provide 
notwithstanding  so  to  frame  his  outward  actions,  that  they  be  no 
hinderance  unto  the  common  good  for  which  societies  are  in- 
stituted: unlesse  they  doe  this,  they  are  not  perfect.  (10.2;  1:96. 

It  is  an  essential  presupposition  of  Hooker's  political  theory  that 
human  nature  is  so  corrupt  that  people  are  no  longer  capable  of  living 
together  without  strife  and  envy,  and  it  is  this  deplorable  condition 
that  makes  the  existence  of  government  necessary. 

Yet  for  Hooker,  as  for  Aquinas,  the  reality  and  consequences  of  sin 
have  not  invalidated  "the  very  principles  of  nature."  There  still 
remains  the  existence  of  a  sphere  of  "natural"  ethical  and  political 
values  that  can  be  grasped  by  reason  and  (presupposing  the  general 
concurrence  of  divine  power)  at  least  partially  implemented  by  the 
human  will.  It  is  with  regard  to  this  issue  concerning  the  qualitative 
and  quantitative  measurement  of  the  consequences  of  human  sinfulness 
that   Hooker  differs   from  his   disciplinarian   opponents.      He   fully 

45  See  1.10.1  (1:96.32-97.5),  10.5  (100.16-17),  and  10.13  (108.7-17). 

On  how  the  dispute  between  the  apologists  of  the  Elizabethan  church  and  the 
disciplinarians  was  shaped  not  only  by  differing  interpretations  of  the  authority  of 


Book  I 

agrees  that  human  nature  has  been  sorely  wounded  by  sin,  but  not  to 
the  extent  presupposed  by  opponents  who  have  been  influenced  by 
that  extreme  Calvinist  doctrine  known  as  "the  total  depravity  of 
man."  Hooker's  more  optimistic  evaluation  of  the  abilities  of  human 
reason  and  will  for  making  valid  decisions  in  the  temporal  realm  was 
recognized  by  and  protested  against  by  Travers  before  the  writing  of 
the  Lawes  and  afterwards  by  the  anonymous  author(s)  of  A  Christian 
Letter  as  an  unwarranted  elevation  of  natural  reason  and  an  overly 
optimistic  emphasis  upon  the  ability  of  human  will  to  make  good 
decisions  based  on  reason's  determinations  (see  4:17.15—19.16,  this 
edn.).  In  this  sense,  Hooker  was  the  first  among  the  apologists  of  the 
established  church  in  attempting  to  refute  the  disciplinarians  at  the 
level  of  philosophical  first  principles  by  explicitly  bringing  to  light 
what  he  perceived  to  be  the  distorted  pessimism  in  their  analysis  of  the 
capabilities  remaining  in  even  fallen  human  nature. 

In  reconciling  what  he  inherited  from  Aristotle  on  the  one  hand 
and  from  Augustine  and  the  church  Fathers  on  the  other,  Hooker 
went  farther  than  Aquinas  when  he  argued  that  political  societies  owe 
their  existence  not  only  to  the  natural  human  instinct  for  association 
and  to  the  consequences  of  sin  but  also  to  some  kind  of  agreement, 
either  formal  or  tacit,  made  by  human  beings  when  they  first  came 
together  to  form  societies.  The  polemical  significance  of  this  notion 
of  voluntary  agreement  as  an  essential  part  of  the  explanation  for  the 
origin  of  the  state  is  the  affirmation  that  all  legitimate  government  is 
ultimately  grounded  in  a  form  of  popular  consent,  and  this  in  turn 
implies  that  the  laws  of  the  Church  of  England  are  binding  on  the 
disciplinarians  because  they  have  been  established  with  the  consent  of 
English  society  as  a  whole  (see  pp.  372-379,  below). 

Hooker's  theory  of  formal  or  tacit  agreement  as  an  explanation  for 

Scripture  but  also  by  two  differing  concepts  of  human  nature,  see  John  F.  H.  New, 
Anglican  and  Puritan:  The  Basis  of  Their  Opposition,  1558-1640,  pp.  6—12,  28,  and 
Loyer,  2:675-676. 

Cargill  Thompson  identified  this  emphasis  upon  some  kind  of  "agreement" 
among  humans  before  government  can  be  established  as  the  key  to  Hooker's  political 
theory,  "for  it  is  the  basis  on  which  all  his  subsequent  arguments  about  the  nature  of 
political  authority  and  the  validity  of  human  laws  rests";  S.R.H.,  p.  38;  Studies  in  the 
Reformation,  pp.  163-164. 



the  origin  of  political  societies  has  rightly  been  seen  as  anticipating  the 
social-contract  theories  of  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries, 
especially  that  of  John  Locke  as  set  forth  in  The  Second  Treatise  of 
Government  (1690).      Careful  reading  of  the  primary  texts  suggests 

There  has  been  and  remains  a  great  deal  of  debate  over  what,  how  much,  and 
why  Locke  borrowed  from  Hooker's  Lawes,  especially  with  regard  to  Hooker's 
theories  concerning  natural  law  and  the  origin,  nature,  and  limits  of  the  state;  see 
George  Bull,  "What  Did  Locke  Borrow  from  Hooker?"  Thought,  1  (1932):  122-135 
Angel  Facio  Moreno,  "Dos  Notas  in  Torno  a  la  Idea  de  Derecho  Natural  en  Locke 
Hooker  en  el  Segundo  Tratado  de  Gobierno  Civil,"  Revista  de  Estudios,  190  (1960) 
159—164;  and  Peter  Munz,  The  Place  of  Hooker  in  the  History  of  Thought,  Appendix  D. 
These  questions  are  complicated  because  of  the  deference  which  Locke  repeatedly 
gives  to  "the  judicious  Hooker"  and  the  extensive  citation  of  Lawes  in  his  early  Two 
Tracts  of  Government  (1660—1661)  and  especially  in  his  later  The  Second  Treatise  of 
Government  (1690). 

Some  scholars  have  argued  that  Locke  borrowed  ideas  directly  from  Hooker  and 
then  transmitted  them  directly  to  eighteenth-century  revolutionaries  in  America  and 
France;  see  Henry  Hallam,  Constitutional  History,  1:214-223;  Shirley,  Richard  Hooker 
and  Contemporary  Political  Ideas,  pp.  201,  215,  225;  and  John  S.  Marshall,  "Richard 
Hooker  and  the  Origins  of  American  Constitutionalism,"  in  Arthur  L.  Harding,  ed., 
Origins  of  the  Natural  Law  Tradition  (Dallas:  Southern  Methodist  University  Press, 
1954),  pp.  56—57,  60.  Others  have  claimed  that  Locke  appealed  to  the  authority  of 
Hooker  in  order  to  support  his  new  heterodox  and  revolutionary  theories  with  a 
respectable  pedigree  (A.  P.  D'Entreves,  The  Medieval  Contribution  to  Political  Thought: 
Thomas  Aquinas,  Marsilius  of  Padua,  Richard  Hooker  (1939;  rpr.  The  Humanities  Press, 
1959),  pp.  125— 132;  J.  W.  Gough,  Introduction,  in  John  Locke,  The  Second  Treatise  of 
Government  and  A  Letter  Concerning  Toleration  (Oxford:  Basil  Blackwell,  1966),  p.  xii; 
E.  T.  Davies,  The  Political  Ideas  of  Richard  Hooker  (London,  1946),  p.  66;  and  Richard 
H.  Cox,  Locke  on  War  and  Peace  (Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1960),  p.  51. 

Some  scholars  have  argued  that  Locke's  conception  of  natural  law  is  continuous 
with  the  classical  Stoic  and  Christian  position  represented  by  Cicero  and  Aquinas  and 
coming  down  to  Hooker;  see  esp.  Raghuveer  Singh,  "John  Locke  and  the  Theory  of 
Natural  Law,"  Political  Studies,  9  (1961):  111-112.  Others  have  taken  the  position  that 
Locke  breaks  entirely  from  the  classical,  Christian,  Thomistic  theory  of  natural  law  and 
expounds  a  new,  modern,  or  even  "pseudo-"  natural  law  theory;  see,  for  example,  R. 
I.  Aaron,  John  Locke  (Oxford,  1937),  pp.  267-268;  Leo  Strauss,  Natural  Right  and 
History  (Chicago:  University  of  Chicago  Press,  1953),  pp.  120,  165-166;  and  H.  A. 
Rommen,  "The  Natural  Law  of  the  Renaissance  Period,"  University  of  Notre  Dame 
Natural  Law  Proceedings  (1948),  pp.  94-95. 

Some  scholars  have  argued  that  Hooker  is  one  of  the  earliest  representatives  of  the 
theory  of  the  social  contract  and  even  that  he  was  the  first  thinker  to  propound  the 


Book  I 

that,  even  though  Locke  cites  passages  directly  and  fairly  accurately 
from  Hooker's  Lawes  (almost  exclusively  from  Book  I  and  primarily 
from  chap.  10),  the  two  men  stand  in  different  philosophical  traditions. 
Locke  retains,  somewhat  inconsistently,  traditional  rationalist  formulae 
within  what  is  fundamentally  a  voluntarist  theory  of  natural  law  and 
social  contract,  thereby  placing  himself  in  that  school  of  thinking  that 
had  its  origins  in  the  metaphysical  voluntarism  of  Duns  Scotus  and 
especially  in  the  voluntarist-nominalist-empiricist-fideist  tradition  of 
William  of  Ockham  and  his  successors,  including  Calvin  and  the  disci- 
plinarian party  in  England  (see  above,  p.  103  and  n.  36).  Hooker 
explicitly  rejects  this  tradition  (see  1:60.27-61. 4. n),  standing  predomi- 
nantly in  the  rationalist-realist-essentialist  tradition  of  Aristotle  and 
Aquinas — although  tempered  by  the  English  common  law  tradition. 
Therefore,  even  though  the  two  authors  often  use  the  same  terminol- 
ogy in  developing  their  ideas  and  theories,  the  words  and  concepts  do 
not  mean  the  same  things  or  function  in  the  same  way  in  their  respec- 
tive overall  thought  patterns. 

Furthermore,  compared  with  Locke  and  other  later  social  contract 
theorists,  Hooker's  exposition  of  this  part  of  his  theory  of  government 
appears  at  best  to  be  imperfectly  developed.      He  nowhere  distin- 

doctrine  in  its  classic  form;  see  Shirley,  p.  46.  Others  question  whether  he  can  be 
classified  as  a  social  contract  thinker  at  all;  see  Cargill  Thompson,  S.R.H.,  p.  40; 
Studies  in  the  Reformation,  p.  166. 

Given  the  persistence  of  scholarly  disagreement  on  this  issue,  there  are  grounds  for 
taking  a  fresh  look  at  the  relation  between  the  thought  of  Hooker  and  Locke.  First, 
the  characters  of  both  authors  are  now  seen  as  far  more  complex  and  fascinating  than 
hitherto  expected;  Hooker  and  Locke  have  each  emerged  as  polemical  authors  who 
are  writing  in  very  different  historical  contexts  with  very  different  purposes  in  mind. 
Second,  information  about  the  date  and  Locke's  method  of  composition  bears  directly 
upon  his  quotation  of  Hooker;  see  W.  von  Leyden,  ed.,  Essays  on  the  Law  of  Nature 
(Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1967);  Philip  Abrams,  ed.,  Two  Tracts  of  Government  (Cam- 
bridge: Cambridge  University  Press,  1967);  and  especially  Peter  Laslett,  ed.,  Two 
Treatises  of  Civil  Government  (Cambridge:  The  University  Press,  1963). 

As  Cargill  Thompson  observed,  the  major  reason  for  the  apparent  imprecision 
of  Hooker's  discussion  of  the  social  contract  is  that  he  was  actually  more  concerned 
with  the  concept  of  consent  as  providing  a  broader  and  more  satisfactory  explanation 
for  the  origin  of  government  than  the  more  limited  concept  of  contract;  S.R.H.,  p.  41; 
Studies  in  the  Reformation,  p.  167;  compare  Davies,  Political  Ideas,  p.  69. 



guishes,  for  example,  between  an  agreement  among  all  to  unite  (the 
pactum  societatis)  and  an  agreement  with  a  sovereign  to  obey  (the  pactum 
subjectionis).  Most  recent  interpreters  of  Hooker  have  agreed  that,  while 
there  is  no  trace  in  his  political  theory  of  a  pactum  societatis  or  social 
contract  proper,  there  are  indications  of  the  idea  of  a  contract  viewed 
as  a  pactum  subjectionis.  Furthermore,  in  contrast  to  Locke  and  other 
seventeenth-  and  eighteenth-century  social-contract  theorists,  Hooker 
urged  the  idea  of  compact  as  a  rational  explanation  of  how  society  and 
government  came  into  existence,  not  as  a  foundation  for  the  right  of 
resistance  to  a  tyrannical  sovereign. 

That  various  forms  of  corporate  government  were  voluntarily 
brought  into  existence  by  means  of  some  kind  of  original  compact  is 
not  necessarily  inconsistent  with  Hooker's  naturalistic  Aristotelian  and 
Thomistic  presuppositions.  In  his  view,  life  in  society  is  in  accord- 
ance with  human  nature,  yet  it  needs  a  rational,  deliberate  act  of 
union  by  individual  heads  of  households  to  bring  the  state  into  exist- 
ence. Consent  is  necessary  because  it  is  the  only  rational  foundation 
for  government  and  resolution  of  conflicts,  for  "without  . . .  consent, 
there  were  no  reason,  that  one  man  should  take  upon  him  to  be  Lord 
or  Judge  over  another"  (10.4;  1:99.8—9).  He  does  not  reject  Aristotle's 
view  that  there  is  "a  kind  of  naturall  right  in  the  noble,  wise,  and 
vertuous,  to  governe  them  which  are  of  servile  disposition"  (99.11— 
12);  nevertheless,  he  continues,  "for  manifestation  of  this  their  right, 
and  mens  more  peaceable  contentment  on  both  sides,  the  assent  of 

For  example,  see  D'Entreves,  Medieval  Contribution,  pp.  130-131;  J.  W.  Gough, 
The  Social  Contract:  A  Critical  Study  of  Its  Development,  2nd  edn.  (Oxford:  Clarendon 
Press,  1957),  pp.  71-75;  Davies,  pp.  65-66. 

Hooker  is  probably  most  indebted  for  the  rudiments  of  his  social  contract 
thinking  within  a  larger  Aristotelian  context  to  the  writings  of  sixteenth-century 
Thomists  who,  without  adopting  the  premises  of  voluntarist  individualism,  used  the 
conception  of  social  contract  to  affirm  the  dignity  and  uniqueness  of  generic  man  as 
a  being  able  to  grasp  moral  imperatives  within  the  framework  of  the  eternal  law;  see 
Gough,  Social  Contract,  pp.  67-75,  and  Bernice  Hamilton,  Political  Thought  in 
Sixteenth- Century  Spain:  A  Study  of  the  Political  Ideas  of  Vitoria,  De  Soto,  Suarez,  and 
Molina  (Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1963).  The  political  order  was  created  by  moral 
agents  who,  guided  by  right  reason,  sought  appropriate  institutional  arrangements 
whereby  to  express  their  natural  impulse  to  communal  life. 


Book  I 

them  who  are  to  be  governed,  seemeth  necessarie"  (99.12—15).  Hook- 
er likewise  agrees  with  Aristotle  that  nature  has  given  fathers  supreme 
authority  within  their  private  families,  but  he  cannot  understand  how 
this  authority  can  account  for  the  origin  of  the  state  by  being  extended 
beyond  the  limits  of  the  individual  family.  No  one  can  have  legitimate 
authority  over  "a  whole  grand  multitude"  unless  by  the  consent  of  the 
governed  or  extraordinarily  by  the  immediate  appointment  of  God 
(99.1 5-27). 52 

Hooker's  emphasis  upon  communal  consent  does  not  mean  that  he 
was  a  political  liberal  developing  a  democratic  theory  of  the  state,  for 
he  balances  the  notion  of  the  popular  origin  of  "the  power  of  domin- 
ion" with  the  conception  of  the  political  body  as  a  living,  growing 
organism  having  a  changing  but  continuous  history.  Even  though 
political  authority  was  originally  vested  in  the  people,  once  govern- 
ment has  been  established  and  authority  conveyed  to  the  ruler  or 
rulers,  it  is  irrevocable,  "because  corporations  are  immortall"  (10.8; 
1:103.24).  By  combining  the  concept  of  "custom"  as  the  counsel  of 
the  past  for  guidance  in  the  present  with  the  concept  of  "consensus" 
from  the  pragmatic  tradition  of  the  English  common-law  tradition, 
Hooker  is  able  to  sustain  within  his  theoretical  framework  both 
continuity  and  the  possibility  (or  necessity)  of  change,  the  stability  of 
tradition  with  the  power  of  accommodation. 

It  would  therefore  be  just  as  incorrect  to  call  Hooker  a  "proto- 
democrat"  as  to  interpret  him  as  a  royal  absolutist  supporting  a  patriar- 
chal divine  right  of  kings.  The  principle  of  consent  functions  in 
Hooker's  thought  as  a  constitutional  principle,  and  he  combined  the 
idea  with  a  medieval  conception  of  the  supremacy  of  law.  It  is  in 

The  exception  by  "immediat  appointment  of  God,"  or  "given  extraordinarily 
from  God,"  is  of  historical  importance,  for  Hooker  believed  that  William  the  Con- 
queror had  sought  to  base  his  tide  to  rule  on  conquest  rather  than  consent;  see  Lawes, 
VIII.6.1  (3:385.19-386.1). 

Davies,  for  example,  warned  against  reading  too  much  into  Hooker's  "con- 
tractarianism":  "even  in  theory,  Hooker  comes  perilously  near  a  doctrine  of  royal 
absolutism,  and  when  we  test  whether  there  be  any  practical  checks  on  this  power, 
we  find  that,  in  practice,  royal  power  is  absolute"  (Political  Ideas,  p.  66);  on  the  limits 
Hooker  does  in  fact  impose  upon  royal  power,  see  below,  Introduction  to  Book  VIII, 
pp.  351-377. 



Book  VIII  that  Hooker  argues  most  clearly  and  most  extensively  that 
law  is  the  supreme  sovereign  and  that  the  English  crown  is  subject  to 
it,  but  the  foundation  for  a  mixed  constitution  and  for  political  repre- 
sentation is  laid  in  chapter  10  of  Book  I. 

Kinds  of  Human  Law 

Hooker's  subsequent  discussion  of  the  nature  and  kinds  of  "human 
law"  presupposes  his  analysis  of  the  nature  and  origin  of  the  state. 
Laws  which  establish  some  duty  to  which  humans  were  already  bound 
by  the  law  of  reason  Hooker  calls  "mixedly  human,"  to  be  distin- 
guished from  "merely  human"  laws  that  do  not  derive  any  of  their 
force  from  the  law  of  reason  and  that  make  provisions  based  solely 
upon  that  which  is  deemed  to  be  expedient  or  convenient.  He  argues 
that  laws  both  "mixed"  and  "merely  human"  are  made  by  human 
societies,  and  that  some  of  these  societies  are  civilly  united  while 
others  are  spiritually  joined.  Crucially  for  the  argument  with  the 
disciplinarians,  Hooker  assigns  the  disputed  topic  of  ecclesiastical  polity 
to  that  realm  of  "merely  human"  laws  made  by  the  church  insofar  as 
it  is  in  its  temporal  existence  a  particular  kind  of  "politique  societie." 

Hooker  further  distinguishes  between  those  human  laws  which 
pertain  to  individuals  insofar  as  they  are  individual  human  beings, 
those  which  pertain  to  individuals  as  citizens  of  a  particular  political 
society,  and  those  which  bind  all  political  bodies  in  their  interaction 
with  one  another  (the  so-called  jus  gentium  or  "law  of  nations").  He 
subdivides  the  law  of  nations  into  primary,  based  upon  an  integral 
human  nature  before  the  fall  into  sin,  and  secondary,  based  upon  a 
human  nature  which  is  fallen  and  depraved.  But  since  additional 
elaboration  of  the  law  of  nations  does  not  advance  his  polemic,  Hook- 
er truncates  this  part  of  his  discussion  and  turns  to  the  corresponding 
notion  of  the  relationship  that  ought  to  exist  between  specifically 
Christian  nations.  Arguing  that  there  ought  to  be  general  church 
councils  to  decide  quarrels  concerning  ecclesiastical  laws  arising  be- 
tween different  Christian  nations,  he  relegates  to  the  jurisdiction  of 
such  councils  all  disputes  concerning  matters  of  polity,  order,  and 
regiment  in  the  church.  This  application  of  positive  human  laws  to  the 
government  of  the  church  as  a  particular  species  of  "politique  societie" 


Book  I 

lays  the  foundation  for  the  later  defense  of  "the  power  of  dominion" 
and  royal  supremacy  in  chapter  2  of  Book  VIII. 

Divine  Law 

To  this  point,  Hooker  has  been  dealing  with  the  realm  of  human 
nature  and  reason,  and  the  laws  which  he  has  been  considering  from 
chapters  5  through  10  have  all  been  such  as  "mere  natural  men"  can 
discover  by  the  light  of  reason.  Beginning  with  chapter  11  and  contin- 
uing through  chapter  15,  however,  he  introduces  the  theme  of  divine 
or  supernatural  law,  which,  as  a  gift  of  divine  grace,  transcends  and 
perfects  while  it  does  not  annihilate  the  natural  knowledge  and  observ- 
ance of  the  law  of  reason  or  the  making  and  enforcing  of  just  human 

Hooker  returns  to  an  Aristotelian-Thomistic  exposition  of  first 
principles  to  explain  why  God  has  not  only  republished  in  Scripture 
the  basic  axioms  of  the  law  of  reason  but  has  also  revealed  there  other 
laws  that  human  reason  could  never  have  discovered  by  itself.  Assert- 
ing that  all  beings  desire  perfection  after  their  own  kinds  and  distin- 
guishing between  those  goods  which  are  desired  as  means  to  some- 
thing else  and  those  which  are  desired  as  ends  in  themselves,  Hooker 
concludes  that  God,  as  the  only  infinite  and  perfect  good,  is  the 
ultimate  end  desired  by  human  beings  and  that  he  alone  is  the  final 
source  of  their  felicity.  In  other  words,  the  perfection  which  human 
beings  naturally  yearn  for  is  a  completion  beyond  life  in  the  temporal, 
terrestrial  realm.  An  infinite  good  must  exist  to  match  the  infinite 
human  yearning  that  finds  no  lasting  happiness  on  earth,  for  "it  is  an 
axiome  of  nature  that  naturall  desire  cannot  utterly  be  frustrate"  (1 1.4; 

Yet  even  though  nature  points  beyond  itself  insofar  as  this  desire  for 
union  with  God  is  a  constituent  part  of  human  nature  itself,  natural 
reason  can  suggest  no  means  of  attaining  it  except  by  doing  good 
works.  But  all  human  works  are  the  works  of  a  fallen,  sinful  nature. 
Therefore,  Hooker  reasons,  either  there  is  no  salvation,  or  God  must 
reveal  a  supernatural  and  extraordinary  way  leading  to  the  bliss  of 
eternal  life.  This  God  has  done,  not  only  by  republishing  the  basic 
axioms  of  the  law  of  reason  and  illustrations  of  their  particular  applica- 



tions  (because  of  their  being  obscured  by  the  effects  of  sin  and  the 
difficulty  the  ignorant  have  in  applying  first  principles  to  particular 
cases),  but  also  by  publishing  for  the  first  time  the  mystical  and  super- 
natural way  of  attaining  eternal  felicity  through  performing  the  duties 
of  faith,  hope,  and  love — all  divinely  "imputed"  by  grace  but,  para- 
doxically, becoming  genuinely  "inherent"  at  the  same  time.  Nowhere, 
except  in  God's  divine  law  revealed  in  Scripture  to  rectify  nature's 
obliquity,  can  any  knowledge  of  these  three  supernatural  duties  be 

Hooker  stands  with  the  magisterial  Protestant  Reformers  in  affirm- 
ing the  principle  of  sola  scriptura  in  the  sense  that  the  Scriptures  contain 
all  that  is  necessary  for  salvation.  But  over  against  what  he  perceived 
to  be  the  extreme  biblicism  of  his  disciplinarian  opponents,  he  does 
not  allow  the  primacy  of  scriptural  authority  in  the  sphere  of  faith  and 
morals  to  exclude  the  continuing  authoritative  role  of  reason  and 
tradition  in  the  making  of  expedient  "human  laws"  concerning 
"matters  indifferent." 

Scripture  is  divinely  intended  to  supplement  and  perfect  the  truths 
and  laws  discerned  by  natural  reason;  it  does  not  destroy  or  even 
supersede  them. 

Having  refuted  what  he  perceived  to  be  the  narrow  biblicism  of  the 
Genevan  party,  however,  Hooker  next  turns  to  refute  the  comple- 
mentary allegation  of  romanizing,  which  Travers  had  lodged  against 
him  in  the  controversy  at  the  Temple.  His  formulation  in  chapters 
13  and  14  of  the  relation  between  Scripture,  reason,  and  tradition  is  a 
clear  example  of  his  distinctive  theological  position  as  one  of  balance 
and  moderation  between  the  extremes  of  Reformation  Protestantism 

On  the  elusive  character  of  Hooker's  central  controversy  with  the  disciplinari- 
ans over  the  primary  authority  of  Scripture  and  its  conformity  with  truth  discovered 
by  natural  reason,  and  for  the  implications  of  this  controversy  for  the  divergent 
positions  taken  concerning  "Christian  liberty"  and  to  "things  indifferent,"  see  John  S. 
Coolidge,  The  Pauline  Renaissance  in  England:  Puritanism  and  the  Bible  (Oxford: 
Clarendon  Press,  1970),  pp.  1-54;  see  also  Peter  Lake,  Anglicans  and  Puritans?  Presbyte- 
rianism  and  English  Conformist  Thought  from  Whitgift  to  Hooker  (London:  Unwin  Hyman, 
1988),  pp.  15-17,  23-26,  and  151-154. 
ss  See  Supplication,  5:200.13-208.14. 


Book  I 

on  the  one  side  and  Tridentine  Catholicism  on  the  other.  Although 
his  basic  position  remains  constant,  his  emphasis  shifts,  depending  on 
whether  he  is  addressing  Genevan  Calvinists  or  Roman  Catholics. 
Against  Geneva  he  urges  the  necessity  of  reason  and  appears  almost  to 
exalt  it  into  an  independent  channel  of  divine  revelation;  against 
Rome  he  underscores  the  "absolute  perfection  of  Scripture"  with 
regard  to  its  ultimate  purpose  of  revealing  those  truths  necessary  for 
the  salvation  of  humankind.  By  pointing  out  the  distortion-prone 
nature  of  all  unwritten  traditions,  he  counters  the  Tridentine  doctrine 
that  Scripture  is  only  a  partial  source  of  "all  revealed  supernatural 
truth"  that  must  be  supplemented  by  tradition  if  salvation  is  to  be 
attained,  and  he  explicitly  rejects  the  Council  of  Trent's  assertion  that 
there  is  revealed  law  of  God  contained  in  unwritten  apostolic  tradi- 
tions worthy  of  being  held  with  authority  and  reverence  equal  to  that 
of  Scripture.  Yet  Hooker  so  qualified  the  Protestant  principle  of 
sola  scriptura  that  his  position  seemed  to  his  Calvinist  opponents  to 
undermine  the  sufficiency  of  Scripture  for  human  salvation  as  codified 
in  Article  6  of  the  Thirty-Nine  Articles: 

In  like  sort,  albeit  scripture  do  professe  to  conteyne  in  it  all 
things  which  are  necessarye  unto  salvation;  yet  the  meaning  cannot 
be  simplye  of  all  things  that  are  necessarye,  but  all  things  that  are  neces- 
sarye in  some  certaine  kinde  or  forme;  as  all  things  that  are  necessarye, 
and  eyther  could  not  at  all,  or  could  not  easily  be  knowne  by  the 
light  of  naturall  discourse;  all  things  which  are  necessarye  to  be 
knowne  that  we  may  be  saved,  but  knowne  with  presupposall  of 
knowledge  concerning  certaine  principles  whereof  it  receaveth  us  already 
perswaded,  and  then  instructeth  us  in  all  the  residue  that  are 
necessarie.  In  the  number  of  these  principles  one  is  the  sacred 

56  1.13.2;  compare  II.8.7  and  see  Introduction  to  Books  II,  III  &  IV,  pp.  167-168, 
below.  See  also  Egil  Grislis,  "The  Hermeneutical  Problem  in  Richard  Hooker," 
S.R.H.,  pp.  183-184.  Oberman  outlines  the  basic  doctrinal  issues  at  hand  in  "Quo 
Vadis,  Petre?  Tradition  from  Irenaeus  to  Humani  Generis,"  Scottish  Journal  of  Theology, 
16  (1963):  225-255;  rpr.  The  Dawn  of  the  Reformation:  Essays  in  Late  Medieval  and  Early 
Reformation  Thought  (Edinburgh:  T.  &  T.  Clark,  1986),  pp.  269-296.  Yves  M.-J. 
Congar  refers  briefly  to  Hooker  in  Tradition  and  Traditions:  An  Historical  and  a  Theologi- 
cal Essay  (New  York:  Macmillan,  1967),  pp.  516-517. 



authoritie  of  scripture.  Being  therefore  perswaded  by  other  meanes  that 
these  scriptures  are  the  oracles  of  God,  them  selves  do  then  teach 
us  the  rest,  and  laye  before  us  all  the  duties  which  God  requireth 
at  our  hands  as  necessary  unto  salvation  (14.1;  1:125.32—126.13, 
my  emphasis;  compare  4.2). 

Negatively,  Hooker's  balance  between  the  sufficiency  of  Scripture  for 
salvation  and  the  part  played  by  reason  and  tradition  in  initially  au- 
thenticating the  divine  authority  of  the  Bible  rejects  the  Tridentine 
addition  of  unwritten  apostolic  traditions  to  the  corpus  of  Scripture  as 
authoritative  divine  revelation  for  teaching  faith  and  morals;  at  the 
same  time,  it  rejects  the  Calvinist  doctrine  that  self-authenticating 
Scripture  contains  all  the  truth  that  humans  need  to  know.  Positively, 
the  whole  argument  here  is  a  representative  example  of  his  application 
of  the  general  philosophical  and  theological  principle  presupposed 
throughout  all  of  his  works:  not  only  is  it  true  that  "nature  hath  need 
of  grace"  but  also  that  "grace  hath  use  of  nature." 


Hooker  points  out  in  his  summary  of  Book  I  that  his  purpose  has 
been  to  define  and  delimit  the  spheres  proper  to  the  various  kinds  of 
law  in  the  hope  of  avoiding  the  confusion  that  results  from  the  per- 
ceived attempt  of  the  precisionists  to  measure  all  the  actions  of  human 
beings  by  God's  divine  law  revealed  once  and  for  all  time  in  Scripture. 
He  admits  that  Scripture  is  sovereign  in  its  own  sphere  and  that  it 
sufficiently  reveals  all  truths  necessary  for  salvation;  nevertheless,  divine 
law  revealed  in  Scripture  is  not  the  only  law  that  God  in  his  wisdom 

The  argument  that  "something  besides  Scripture"  must  give  rational  assurance 
that  Scripture  is  the  Word  of  God  is  related  to  Travers's  objection  to  Hooker's 
argument  in  Certaintie  that  "the  assurance  of  that  we  believe  by  the  word,  is  not  so 
certain,  as  that  we  perceive  by  sense"  (see  above,  pp.  89-90  and  n.  17).  The  author(s) 
of  A  Christian  Letter  charged  Hooker  with  compromising  the  Church  of  England's 
doctrine  that  "Holy  Scripture  containeth  all  things  which  are  necessary  to  salvation" 
by  supplementing  Scripture  with  truth  discerned  by  reason  and  by  introducing  the 
human  testimony  of  church  tradition  to  authenticate  Scripture  as  God's  Word 
(4:11.20-24,  14.14-18,  this  edn.). 


Book  I 

has  provided  for  the  guidance  of  humankind.  It  is  part  of  the  distinc- 
tive nature  of  human  beings  to  be  subject  not  to  one  law  but  to 
several  different  kinds  of  law,  according  to  different  aspects  of  their 

all  serveth  but  to  make  manifest  that  as  the  actions  of  men  are  of 
sundry  distinct  kindes,  so  the  lawes  thereof  must  accordingly  be 
distinguished.  There  are  in  men  operations  some  naturall,  some 
rationall,  some  supernaturall,  some  politique,  some  finally  Ecclesi- 
asticall.  Which  if  we  measure  not  ech  by  his  owne  proper  law, 
whereas  the  things  themselves  are  so  different;  there  will  be  in 
our  understanding  and  judgement  of  them  confusion. 

Hooker  has  now  proved  to  his  own  satisfaction  that  his  more  complex 
analysis  of  the  nature  and  different  kinds  of  law  provides  a  better 
foundation  for  a  Christian  society  and  its  public  worship  than  his 
opponents'  oversimplified  distinction  between  the  clear  authority  of 
divine  supernatural  law  revealed  in  Scripture  and  the  arbitrariness  of 
positive,  human-made  law.  But  even  though  Hooker  has  here  set 
forth  first  principles  which  are  intended  to  serve  as  a  foundation  for 
the  remainder  of  the  Lawes,  the  content  of  Book  I  overlaps — and 
therefore  should  be  read  in  especially  close  conjunction  with — Books 
II  and  III.  Examining  the  precisionist  view  that  Scripture  is  the  only 
rule  of  things  that  may  be  done  by  human  beings,  Hooker  responds  in 
Book  II  that  there  are  many  matters  upon  which  Scripture  is  silent  and 
that  in  many  of  these  cases  the  natural  light  of  reason  not  only  may 
but  must  be  used.  Charging  his  opponents  with  debasing  reason  in 
order  to  exalt  the  authority  of  Scripture,  he  dismisses  the  validity  of 
the  disciplinarian  arguments  based  upon  an  exaggeration  of  the  infir- 
mity of  human  reason. 

He  returns  to  this  theme  of  the  excessive  disparagement  of  reason  in 
one  of  the  most  important  passages  in  Book  III:  "they  never  use 
reason  so  willinglie  as  to  disgrace  reason"  (8.4;  1.221.28).  As  in  Book 

58  1.16.5,  138.10-17;  compare  II.1.4,  147.21-148.6.  L.  S.  Thornton  traced  Hook- 
er's analysis  of  all  the  various  kinds  of  law  back  to  two  groups  which  cross  and  recross 
each  other:  (a)  natural  and  supernatural  and  (b)  natural  and  positive;  see  Richard 
Hooker:  A  Study  of  His  Theology  (London,  1924),  p.  34. 



I,  Hooker  here  again  argues  that  everything  necessary  for  salvation  is 
contained  in  Scripture,  but  that  the  particular  manner  of  church  polity 
remains  in  the  category  of  "matters  indifferent,"  that  is,  merely  acces- 
sory and  left  to  the  discretion  of  the  church  insofar  as  it  exists  as  a 
species  of  political  society.  Because  such  matters  are  primarily  affairs 
that  belong  to  rational  discretion  in  the  sphere  of  human  positive  law, 
it  is  an  error  to  imagine  that  God  must  have  necessarily  laid  down  in 
Scripture  a  single  form  of  church  government  applicable  to  all  times 
and  places. 

The  peroration  to  law  at  the  end  of  Book  I  distills  the  essence  that 
permeates  the  entire  treatise: 

Wherefore  that  here  we  may  briefely  end,  of  lawe  there  can  be 
no  lesse  acknowledged,  then  that  her  seate  is  the  bosome  of  God, 
her  voyce  the  harmony  of  the  world,  all  thinges  in  heaven  and 
earth  doe  her  homage,  the  very  least  as  feeling  her  care,  and  the 
greatest  as  not  exempted  from  her  power,  but  Angels  and  men 
and  creatures  of  what  condition  so  ever,  though  ech  in  different 
sort  and  maner,  yet  all  with  uniforme  consent,  admiring  her  as 
the  mother  of  their  peace  and  joy.  (16.8;  1:142.7-14) 

iv.  Hooker  and  His  Contemporaries 

We  know  from  the  other  books  of  the  Lawes  that  Hooker  obviously 
was  acquainted  with  the  works  of  Travers,  Cartwright,  and  other 
major  spokesmen  for  the  disciplinarian  position.  We  may  assume  that 
he  was  also  abreast  of  the  apologetic  works  of  contemporary  defenders 
of  the  established  church  and  consciously  drew  from  them,  even  though, 


presumably  for  tactical  reasons,  he  does  not  cite  them  in  his  notes. 
He  knew  and  appropriated  arguments  from  the  earlier  anti-Catholic 
treatises  of  his  former  patron,  John  Jewel,  as  well  as  anti-disciplinarian 
works  by  John  Bridges,  Thomas  Bilson,  Matthew  Sutcliffe,  Richard 
Bancroft,  Richard  Cosin,   Hadrian  Saravia,   and  especially  of  John 

59  See  Introductions  to  The  Preface,  pp.  63-64,  above,  and  to  Book  V,  pp. 
207-209,  below. 


Book  I 

Whitgift.  Insofar  as  he  was  influenced  by  these  colleagues,  the  Lawes 
takes  its  place  alongside  other  apologies  that  were  being  written  by 
loyal  defenders  of  the  Elizabethan  church. 

Nevertheless,  Hooker  went  beyond  his  contemporaries,  not  only  as 
a  superior  literary  stylist  but  also  as  a  more  effective — in  part  because 
a  more  conciliatory — polemicist.  Nowhere  do  we  see  the  reasons  for 
this  distinctiveness  more  clearly  than  in  Book  I,  which  differs  in  so 
many  ways  not  only  from  other  polemical  works  of  the  time  but  from 
the  Preface  and  other  books  of  the  Lawes  as  well.  Book  I  articulates 
more  clearly  than  elsewhere  the  conciliatory  tone  that  so  differentiates 
its  author  from  proponents  on  both  sides  of  the  heated  debate,  the 
reluctance  to  assume  the  traditional  mode  of  refuting  the  work  of 
opponents  line  by  line  and  point  by  point,  the  sophistication  of 
training  in  philosophical  theology  and  logic,  and  the  breadth  of  read- 
ing that  undergirded  it,  all  sustained  by  the  powerful  bias  (noted  by 
Coleridge)  toward  the  "the  General." 

It  is  the  generality  of  Book  I  that  makes  it  most  distinctive,  for 
Hooker  here  moved  the  controversy  with  the  disciplinarians  to  a 
different,  broader,  and  more  philosophical  plane.  Without  ignoring  the 
necessities  of  practical  politics,  he  sought  to  distance  himself  from  the 
immediate  controversy  and  to  state  general  principles  of  laws  and 
societies.  Only  in  doing  so  was  he  able  to  stake  out  genuinely  new 
ground  on  which  to  meet  his  opponents. 

Whitgift  and  other  apologists  of  the  established  church  had  met 
their  antagonists  on  their  own  chosen  ground  of  interpreting  authori- 
tative texts  from  Scripture  and  early  Christian  tradition,  punctuated  by 
occasional  appeals  to  the  convenience  or  expediency  of  established 
policies  (see  pp.  72-73,  above).  Hooker  accepted  the  authority  of 
Scripture  and  early  Christian  tradition,  but  by  setting  the  concept  of 

The  most  recent  comprehensive  treatment  is  Peter  Lake,  Anglicans  and  Puritans?, 
cited  in  n.  54,  above. 

61  The  Collected  Works  of  Samuel  Taylor  Coleridge:  Marginalia,  ed.  George  Whalley 
(London:  Routledge  &  Kegan  Paul;  Princeton:  The  University  Press,  1980),  p.  1156. 
In  context,  the  characterization  is  critical  of  Hooker;  Coleridge  is  commenting  on 
V.22.10  (2:97.11-19),  where  Hooker  disputes  the  Puritan  view  of  the  efficacy  of 



"things  indifferent"  within  the  framework  of  a  traditional  Thomistic 
theory  of  the  hierarchy  of  laws  as  further  refined  by  distinctions  drawn 
from  theology  and  the  English  common  law  he  transformed  the 
dispute.  By  shifting  the  emphasis  from  the  dire  consequences  suffered 
by  human  nature  after  the  fall  to  a  realistic  yet  comparatively  more 
optimistic  view  of  human  nature  that  enabled  him  to  defend  the  place 
of  reason  in  the  making  of  "positive"  human  laws,  and  by  justifying 
the  legitimate  modification  of  such  laws  through  historical  develop- 
ment, Hooker  closed  the  breach  opened  by  the  magisterial  Reforma- 
tion and  maintained  by  the  disciplinarians  between  reason  and  revela- 
tion, nature  and  grace.  In  Hooker's  inclusive  view,  the  law  of  reason, 
human  positive  laws,  and  the  divine  law  revealed  in  Scripture  are  all 
embraced  within  God's  (second)  eternal  law.  Reason  and  revelation 
provide  different  but  complementary  forms  of  guidance  for  human 

The  peculiar  strength  and  appeal  of  Book  I  is  the  manner  in  which 
it  resolves — or  appears  to  resolve — the  contradictions  inherent  in  being 
an  apologetic  yet  philosophical  theologian.  In  one  aspect  of  this 
vocation  Hooker  was  unrelenting  in  the  recognition  and  delineation 
of  the  disruptions  of  his  times,  and  in  this  sense  he  provides  a  mirror 
of  that  turmoil.  In  the  other,  he  issued  a  protest  in  the  name  of  an 
ordered  human  existence  within  a  Christian  society,  and  here  he 
attempts  to  inscribe  a  new  word  that,  without  supplanting  the  authori- 
ty of  the  divine  Word  revealed  in  Scripture,  would  also  be  religious  in 
its  depths  and  redemptive  in  its  power. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

William  P.  Haugaard 

When  Richard  Hooker  determined  to  issue  the  Preface  and  first 
four  books  of  the  Lawes  alone  in  1593,  he  justified  his  decision  in  an 
appended  "advertisement  to  the  Reader":  the  "generalities  of  the  cause  in 
question  as  here  are  handled"  could  legitimately  be  considered  apart 
from  the  discussions  of  "particulars"  that  were  to  follow  in  Books  V— 
VIII  (1:345.5—7).  The  "general"  character  of  Book  I  is  easily  dis- 
cerned, for  there,  in  spite  of  its  underlying  polemical  structure,  Hook- 
er sought  to  discover  "the  very  foundation  and  root,  the  highest 
welspring  and  fountaine"  of  the  laws  in  dispute  (1.1.2;  1:57.19).  Since 
Hooker  extended  the  sense  of  a  "law"  to  include  that  which  deter- 
mines the  "force  and  power,"  the  "forme  and  measure  of  working"  of 
the  "workes  even  of  God  himselfe,"  the  first  book  clearly  concerns 
fundamental  understandings  of  God,  creation,  and  human  life  (1.2.1; 
1:58:26—33).  The  "general"  character  of  Books  II  to  IV  is  less  readily 

I.  Theology  and  Polemic 

Whereas  the  first  book  cites  numerous  classical  and  patristic  authors 
but  not  a  single  opponent,  the  succeeding  three  cite  more  of  the  latter 
than  all  of  his  classical  and  patristic  authorities  combined.    The  chapter 

1  Pref.  7.2-6  and  Table  between  Pref.  and  I  (1:34.23-36.9  and  54);  see  Introduc- 
tion to  The  Preface,  pp.  37—44,  above. 

See  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  84—89,  above. 

See  pp.  91-96,  above.  The  only  two  explicit  sixteenth-century  references  in 
Book  I  are  to  a  commentator  on  medieval  legal  tradition  and  to  William  Whitaker's 
response  to  Cardinal  Bellarmine  (1. 10.10  and  14.5;  1:105 J  and  12?.z).  In  II-IV, 
Hooker  cites  classical  and  ancient  Jewish  authors  on  15,  and  patristic  sources  on  67 
occasions;  he  makes  96  direct  references  to  Puritan  writings. 



headings  of  Book  I  suggest  an  informative  essay  of  interest  to  the 
philosophically  or  theologically  minded  of  any  era  (1:55—56).  By 
contrast,  the  chapter  heads  of  Books  II— IV  treat  abstruse  issues  raised 
in  outdated  religious  debates,  and  the  contents  of  these  chapters 
(1:143,  193—194,  and  271—272)  may  suggest  they  deserve  the  obscurity 
to  which  most  sixteenth-century  theological  polemics  have  been 
relegated.  Yet  to  dismiss  these  books  as  of  merely  topical  interest  is  to 
miss  the  depth  of  theological  originality  that  underlies  Hooker's 
response  to  the  Puritans.  These  books  treat  two  central  and  related 
religious  issues  of  sixteenth-century  Europe:  the  authority  of  Holy 
Scripture  and  the  nature  of  the  church.  The  first  provides  a  major 
theme  of  Books  II  and  III  and  the  second  underlies  significant  sections 
of  Books  III  and  IV. 

The  authority  of  the  Bible  has,  along  with  the  theology  of  justifi- 
cation, a  claim  to  have  been  the  primary  religious  issue  of  sixteenth- 
century  Europe.  All  the  groups  that  had  repudiated  papal  authority  in 
the  first  half  of  the  century  stood  firmly  on  the  grounds  of  holy  writ 
to  oppose  the  contemporary  magisterium  of  holy  church.  However, 
after  eight  decades  of  attempts  to  determine  the  "true"  faith  and 
practice  of  Christianity  taught  by  the  Bible,  each  group  claimed  that 
its  own  distinctive  understandings  of  Christian  faith  and  practice  were 
solidly  based  on,  or  at  the  least  within  the  purview  of,  that  authorita- 
tive text.  But  throughout  the  debates,  little  attention  had  been  paid  to 
the  character  of  scriptural  authority:  the  precise  ways  by  which  biblical 
learnings  and  injunctions  might  be  interpreted,  related  to  other  "au- 
thorities," and  applied  in  human  life.  The  humanists,  Erasmus  above 
all,  had  reopened  discussions  on  the  textual  authority  of  Scripture,  but 
after  firmly  heeding  the  humanist  call  ad  fontes  and  recovering  the 
original  Hebrew  and  Greek  of  the  Bible,  theologians  curiously  ne- 
glected to  question  the  nature  of  scriptural  authority  that  was  central 
to  the  debate.  Roman  Catholics  and  Protestants  alike  debated  the  roles 
of  tradition  and  Scripture  and  the  authoritative  voices  of  scriptural 
interpretation.  Even  those  most  dedicated  to  the  principle  of  sola 
scriptura  did  not  systematically  discuss  the  processes  by  which  they 
expounded  and  applied  the  text.  They  simply  quoted  and  cited  the 
Bible  and  presumed  the  appropriateness  of  their  methodology.  A 
modern  student  of  the  Reformation  must  extract  their  hermeneutical 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

principles  from  the  examples  of  their  exegetical  practice. 

In  the  1521  Diet  of  Worms  Martin  Luther  had  declared:  "Unless  I 
am  convinced  by  the  testimony  of  the  Scriptures  or  by  clear  reason, 
. . .  my  conscience  is  captive  to  the  Word  of  God."  By  appealing  to 
Scripture  and  reason,  Luther,  whether  consciously  or  not,  had  pointed 
to  the  question,  how  are  Scripture  and  reason  related  to  one  another? 
Yet  neither  he  nor  other  Reformers  gave  systematic  attention  to  the 
question.  As  Hooker  attempted  to  identify  the  "generalities"  of  the 
Puritan  cause,  he  found  himself  confronted  with  that  question  and  the 
wider  issues  of  scriptural  authority  in  which  it  is  embedded. 

The  Reformation  also  brought  the  basic  issue  of  ecclesiology  to  the 
fore:  what  is  the  church?  Lutheran,  Reformed,  Anabaptist,  and  Roman 
Catholic  each  developed  distinct  understandings  by  which  the  true 
earthly  community  of  Christians  might  be  identified.  The  English 
church  drew  from  continental  Reformation  formulae  and  patterns, 
and,  like  other  European  bodies,  modified,  as  need  dictated,  traditional 
structures  of  the  national  church.  From  his  experiences  of  church  life 
under  the  Elizabethan  settlement  as  well  as  from  his  theological  stud- 
ies, Hooker  developed  a  vision  of  the  church,  coherent  in  its  essentials 
and  accidentals,  that  was  unique  for  its  age. 

''Scripture  is  the  onely  rule  of  all  things  which  in  this  life  may  he  done  by 
men"  (1:143.6—8).  This  statement  from  the  title  of  Book  II  raises  the 
whole  question  of  the  appropriate  authorities  to  which  religious  men 
and  women  ought  to  turn  as  they  make  decisions  affecting  their  own 
and  their  neighbors'  lives.  Does  their  faith  require  them  to  look  for 
direction  exclusively  from  the  text  they  believed  to  provide  an  account 
of  God's  revelation?  To  what  extent  may  they  rely  on  the  shared  store 
of  knowledge  and  experience  that  is  common  within  and  across  human 
cultures?  What  is  the  proper  role  of  reason  and  experience  as  believers 
attempt  to  apprehend  truth  and  to  discern  good  and  evil? 

Scripture  sets  forth  "a  forme  of  Church-politie  the  lawes  whereof  may  in 
no  wise  he  altered"  (1:193.4—6).  The  topic  of  Book  III  poses  the  contin- 
uing issue  of  the  essential  structures  of  the  religious  community  itself. 

4  Martin  Luthers  Werke  (Weimer:  H.  Bohlau,  1883-),  7:838;  Luther's  Works,  ed.  J. 
Pelikan  and  H.  T.  Lehmann  (Philadelphia  and  St.  Louis:  Fortress  and  Concordian 
Presses,  1955-),  32:112. 



As  the  community  enlists  men  and  women  from  distinctive  cultural 
contexts,  to  what  extent  may  it  incorporate  new  elements  that  modify 
its  settled  structures?  As  movements  of  history  present  believers  with 
new  opportunities  and  challenges,  what  in  the  structures  of  their 
communities  must  they  retain  unchanged?  What  may — or  perhaps 
ought — they  alter  in  appropriate  response  to  the  changed  conditions? 
May  believers  turn  to  common  human  experience  and  reason,  as  well 
as  their  own  sacred  writings,  for  guidance  in  determining  the  shape  of 
their  distinctively  religious  society? 

"Our forme  of  Church-politie  is  corrupted  with  popish"  elements  banished 
by  other  "reformed  Churches  whose  example  .  .  .  we  ought  to  have  followed" 
(1:271.3—7).  Underneath  the  particular  complaint  in  the  title  of  Book 
IV  lie  larger  issues  that  arise  when  a  religious  community  divides  over 
principles  that  some  believe  to  be  sacrosanct  and  non-negotiable.  How 
can  the  separated  groups  relate  to  one  another?  In  confrontation  with 
conflicting  models  of  a  faith  that  presupposes  a  unified  community  of 
believers,  how  does  a  particular  religious  body  make  judgments  about 
the  structures  of  its  own  life?  When  dissidents  within  such  a  body 
demand  conformity  with  a  differing  model,  what  are  the  responsibili- 
ties of  its  governing  authorities  towards  the  dissidents  and  towards 
other  members  of  the  community? 

These  issues  would  be  significant  in  any  society  in  which  a  partic- 
ular religious  group  has  sufficient  weight  to  influence  societal  struc- 
tures and  patterns  of  human  behavior.  In  sixteenth-century  Europe,  in 
which  religion  was  a  public  and  governmental  concern,  such  issues 
constituted  fundamental  public  policy  issues  which  inevitably  involved 
the  whole  apparatus  of  the  state  as  well  as  of  specifically  ecclesiastical 
authority.  Thus  Hooker  discusses  concerns  that  touch  any  community 
that  includes  an  intransigent  minority.  The  decisions  made  about  the 
issues  debated  by  Hooker  affected  English  men  and  women  in  every 
corner  of  the  land.  Their  sixteenth-century  garb  belies  their  character 
as  continuing  concerns  of  succeeding  ages. 

ii.  Hie  Argument 

Just  as  the  books  published  in  1593  constitute  the  "generalities"  to 
be  considered  "apart,"  before  the  "particulars"  of  Books  V-VIII,  so  on 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

a  smaller  scale  do  the  "generalities"  of  Book  I  precede  the  particulars  of 
Books  II— IV.  The  broad  discussions  of  Book  I  establish  the  principles 
enabling  human  minds  to  apprehend  God's  working  in  creation, 
redemption,  and  revelation;  Book  II  considers  what  Hooker  regards  as 
"the  very  maine  pillar"  of  the  disciplinarians'  cause:  that  "scripture  ought 
to  be  the  only  rule  of  all  our  actions."  Only  in  Book  III  does  he 
narrow  the  issue  to  the  specific  challenge  laid  down  by  the  disciplinar- 
ians, that  Scripture  must  "of  necessitie"  provide  an  inalterable  and 
"particular  form  of  politie  Ecclesiasticall"  (Pref.  7.4;  1:35.15—16).  By 
responding  in  Book  IV  to  the  "generall  accusations"  of  continued 
"popish"  and  insufficiently  "reformed"  rites  and  ceremonies  in  the 
English  church,  Hooker  further  narrows  the  range  of  discussion  as  he 
considers  whether  English  ecclesiastical  polity  ought  to  be  determined 
in  response  to  the  standards  of  other  Christian  bodies  (7.5;  1:35.18— 
23).  As  the  Puritans'  concerns  for  the  primacy  of  Scripture  provide  a 
focus  of  Books  II  and  III,  their  suspicion  of  tradition  provides  the 
focus  of  Book  IV. 

Book  II 

The  primary  epistemological  issue  in  Christian  theology,  the  relation 
between  reason  and  revelation,  is  the  major  topic  of  Book  II  and  is 
continued  in  Book  III.  As  the  title  suggests,  Book  II  concerns  the 
Bible  as  a  directive  guide  for  proper  human  behavior.  In  an  untided 
introduction  inserted  before  the  initial  chapter,  Hooker  direcdy  con- 
fronts what  he  judges  the  "most  generall"  seed  of  the  disciplinarian 
determination  to  overthrow  the  "intier  forme  of  our  Church-politie": 
their  conviction  "that  one  onely  lawe,  the  scripture,  must  be  the  rule  to 
direct  in  all  thinges,  even  so  farre  as  to  the  taking  up  of  a  rush  or  strawe." 

Taking  the  phrase  about  the  "strawe"  from  exchanges  between 
Archbishop  Whitgift  and  Thomas  Cartwright,  Hooker  seized  on 
Cartwright's  defense  of  the  proposition.    It  framed  "the  very  maine 

1:345.5-7;  see  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  75-76,  above. 
Pref.  7.3;  1:35.4-6;  see  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  86-89  and  120-122,  above. 
II. 1.1-2;  1:144.14—145.14.  On  Hooker's  own  introduction  to  Book  II,  which 
is  anomalous  among  the  books  of  the  Lawes,  see  1:144. 1-145. 34.n. 

On  the  Whitgift-Cartwright  debate,  see  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  n.  152, 



pillar"  of  the  grounds  on  which  the  disciplinarians  based  their  case.  A 
desire  to  extend  the  use  of  Scripture,  Hooker  argued,  had  "begotten 
an  error  enlarging  it  further  then  (as  we  are  perswaded)  soundnes  of 
truth  will  beare"  (1.2;  145.9—10).  He  proceeded  in  the  remaining 
chapters  (1—4)  to  discuss  a  set  of  disciplinarian  proof-texts,  negative 
argumentation  from  Scripture  (5—6),  and  the  validity  of  human  author- 
ity and  reason  (7),  treating  each  of  these  against  the  foil  of  a  set  of 
particular  disciplinarian  statements.  The  final  chapter  (8)  summarizes 
the  argument. 

The  first  four  chapters  form  a  unit  of  three  brief  and  one  more 
extensive  exegesis  of  verses  Cartwright  had  cited  to  demonstrate  the 
authority  of  the  Bible  as  the  exclusive  guide  to  Christian  living. 
Citing  Proverbs,  Cartwright  had  identified  the  written  Word  of  God 
with  the  divine  "wisdome"  that  leads  to  "every  good  way."  Hooker 
insists  that  wisdom  imparts  her  treasures  not  only  by  "the  sacred 
bookes  of  Scripture"  but  also  by  "the  glorious  works  of  nature,"  by 
spiritual  inspiration,  and  by  the  training  of  "worldly  experience  and 
practise,"  reasserting  the  wide  epistemological  understandings  that  he 
laid  down  in  Book  I  (1.4;  147.21-148.4). 10  Citing  Paul's  observation 
that  human  obedience  glorifies  God,  Cartwright  had  concluded  that 
such  obedience  must  be  determined  by  the  "commaundement  and  word 
of  God."  Also  drawing  on  New  Testament  texts,  Hooker  counters 
with  evidence  that  "infidels  themselves"  without  benefit  of  Scripture 
may  "judge  rightly  of  the  qualitie"  of  those  human  actions  which 
glorify  God  (2.1-3;  148.8-150.18). 

After  briefly  disposing  of  the  third  exegetical  challenge  (1  Tim.  4:5) 
in  chapter  3,  Hooker  devotes  more  space  than  he  had  to  the  first  three 
chapters  together  to  considering  the  main  issue  of  this  section  drawn 
from  Romans:  "whatsoever  is  not  of  fay  th,  is  sinne"  (4.1;  151:21).  Refus- 
ing Cartwright's  limitation  of  the  object  of  faith  to  the  Bible,  Hooker 
understands  the  faith  of  which  St.  Paul  writes  to  be  "  a  full  perswasion 
that  that  which  we  doe  is  well  done,"  and  he  provides  examples  within 

pp.  71-72,  above;  on  Hooker's  use  of  this  section,  see  pp.  162—163,  below. 
Hooker  summarizes  Cartwright's  position  in  II. 1.3  (1:146.25—27). 
For  example,  chap.  8;  see  above,  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  102-108  and 
120-122,  above. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

Scripture  and  from  Cartwright  himself  of  such  persuasions  that  are  not 
assured  by  biblical  texts  (4.1— 2;152.1— 153.13).  Stricdy  interpreted,  Cart- 
wright's  exegesis  means  that  "we  sinne,  if  any  thing  but  scripture"  directs 
our  choices  (4.5;  155.23).  His  sense  of  the  goodness  of  God's  creation 
outraged,  Hooker  argues  that  God  "cannot  but  be  delighted  with"  the 
human  nature  he  has  given  us  "when  we  exercise  the  same  any  way 
without  commaundement  of  his  to  the  contrarie"  (4.5;  155.35—156.2). 

The  second  section  of  Book  II,  comprising  chapters  5  and  6,  treats 
of  the  use  of  negative  arguments  from  the  Bible:  if  "Scriptures  teach  it 
not,  avoid  it"  (5.1;  157:32—158.1).  Whitgift  had  introduced  the  issue 
when  he  had  asserted  that  much  of  the  1572  Admonition  to  the  Parlia- 
ment was  based  on  arguments  ah  auctoritate  negative.  In  response, 
Cartwright  had  provided  a  series  of  examples  drawn  from  patristic 
writings,  from  the  Bible,  and  from  Hooker's  own  patron,  John  Jewel, 
to  demonstrate  the  ways  in  which  such  arguments  had  solidly  authori- 
tative precedents. 

Hooker  first  lays  down  his  basic  premise:  the  most  that  Cartwright's 
examples  demonstrate  is  that  "in  some  cases  a  negative  argument  taken 
from  scripture  is  strong"  but  they  fail  to  prove  such  arguments  to  be 
"generally"  (universally)  sound,  "which  is  the  point  in  question"  (5.2; 
158.11—18).  He  then  argues  that  the  cited  patristic  texts  support  his 
rather  than  Cartwright's  conclusion.  He  prefaces  chapter  6  with 
Cartwright's  chosen  scriptural  verses,  intended  to  prove  that,  if  God 
has  not  commanded  a  thing,  "therefore  it  must  not  be"  (6.1;  167.26). 
Hooker  judges  that  these,  like  the  patristic  citations,  prove  nothing 
more  "then  that  an  argument  in  some  kinds  of  matter  may  be  good, 
although  taken  negatively  from  scripture,"  concluding  that  neither  the 
Bible,  the  Fathers,  nor  a  highly  regarded  English  theologian  would 
limit  the  sources  of  Christian  knowledge  of  God's  laws  to  the  Bible 
(6.4;  174:19-20).  In  the  course  of  his  exegesis  of  Tertullian  (160?- 
250?)  in  chapter  5,  Hooker  adduces  an  argument  that  points  ahead  to 
his  defense  of  human  authority  in  the  next  section  of  Book  II  and  to 
the  proper  use  of  human  authority  in  ordering  church  affairs,  the 
principal  theme  of  Book  III. 

11  Answere  (1572),  pp.  20-21;  Defense  (1574),  p.  76;  PS,  1:176. 

The  third-century  church  Father  had  taught  that  "scripture  in  many  things  doth 



The  underlying  constructive  character  of  the  Lawes  becomes  evident 
in  chapter  7,  the  lengthiest  of  Book  II,  in  which  Hooker  vindicates 
both  reason  and  tradition  as  they  have  been  articulated  by  human 
authorities.  Responding  to  three  passages  from  Cartwright,  he  opens 
the  chapter  with  the  charge  that  by  drawing  "all  things  unto  the 
determination  of  bare  and  naked  scripture  . . .  [thereby]  abating  the 
estimation  and  credit  of  man,"  the  disciplinarians  would  eventually 
"overthrowe  such  orders,  lawes,  and  constitutions  in  the  Church"  that 
depend  upon  human  authority,  thereby  leaving  "neither  face  nor 
memorie  of  Church  to  continue  long  in  the  world"  (7.1;  175.4— 
13). l  Hooker  points  out  that  "notwithstanding  mans  infirmitie,"  yet 
human  authority  may,  in  fact,  "enforce  assent"  in  a  variety  of  situa- 
tions, including  the  crediting  of  the  authority  of  Scripture  itself  (7.3; 

Taking  up  Cartwright's  insistence  that,  although  arguments  from 
"the  authoritie  of  men"  may  bear  weight  in  "humaine  sciences"  in 
matters  divine  "they  have  no  manner  force  at  all,"  Hooker  describes 
the  hierarchy  of  evidence  by  which  truth  may  be  judged:  first  by  the 
senses,  "plaine  aspect  and  intuitive  beholding,"  then  by  "invincible 
demonstration,"  and  finally,  where  neither  of  these  is  available,  by  the 
"greatest  probability."  Once  the  Scriptures  are  acknowledged  to  be 
the  word  of  God,  they  become  "the  strongest  proofe  of  all,"  but 
Hooker  has  already  noted  that  such  an  acknowledgment  is  itself  based 
on  "the  authoritie  of  man"  and  consequently  on  what  he  would  term 
"the  probability" — what  today  might  be  called  "the  weight  of  evi- 
dence"— involved  in  such  a  judgment  (7.3  and  5;  177.22—30,  178.1—5, 
and  179.10—25).  Lacking  a  logically  sound  proof  from  reason  or  the 
infallible  testimony  of  Scripture,  a  reasonable  person  would  defer  to 

neither  commaund  nor  forbid,  but  use  silence;  ...  in  the  Church  a  number  of  things 
are  strictlie  observed,  wherof  no  lawe  of  scripture  maketh  mention  one  way  or  other; 
that  of  things  once  receyved  and  confirmed  by  use,  long  usage  is  a  lawe  sufficient" 
(5.7;  165.15-19).  See  below,  pp.  146-147. 

One  of  these  passages  is  prefaced  to  the  chapter  and  the  other  two  are  in 
marginal  notes;  see  II.7.1,  4,  and  6  (1:174.24-175.3,  178./i,  and  181. i).  Hooker  adds 
a  fourth  quotation  at  the  end  of  the  chapter  and  cursorily  dismisses  it;  see  7.10  (186.2- 
5  and  k). 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

the  consensus  of  "a  number  of  the  learnedest  divines  in  the  world" 
(7.5;  180.29—181.4).  After  considering  and  dismissing  a  catena  of 
patristic  witnesses  cited  by  Cartwright,  Hooker  invokes  scriptural 
evidence  to  conclude  that  God  does  not  will  us  "so  farre  [to]  reject 
the  authoritie  of  men  as  to  recken  it  nothing"  (7.8;  184.7—8). 

In  the  final  summary  chapter,  Hooker  asserts  "the  sufficiencie  of  scrip- 
ture unto  the  end  for  which  it  was  instituted,"  as  he  had  concluded  in 
Book  I  (1.14.1;  1:124.27—28).  In  matters  of  salvation,  "the  unsufficien- 
cie  of  the  light  of  nature  is  by  the  light  of  scripture"  fully  and  perfectly 
supplied.  He  will  not  include  under  sin  that  which  is  done  "by  direc- 
tion of  natures  light  and  by  the  rule  of  common  discretion  without 
thinking  at  al  upon  scripture"  (II.8.3  and  6;  188.4-5  and  191.5-6). 
The  truth  "concerning  sufficiencie  of  holy  scripture"  lies  between  the 
opinion  that  he  attributes  to  "the  schooles  of  Rome,"  that  knowledge 
necessary  for  salvation  includes  traditional  as  well  as  scriptural  truths,  and 
the  opposite  one,  that  Scripture  contains  not  only  "all  thinges  in  that 
kinde  necessary,  but  al  thinges  simply."  To  attribute  "unto  scripture 
more  then  it  can  have"  is  to  run  the  danger  that  "the  incredibillitie  of 
that  do  cause  even  those  thinges  which  indeed  it  hath  most  abound- 
antly  to  be  lesse  reverendly  esteemed"  (8.7;  191.14—192.1). 

Book  III 

The  title  of  Book  III  is  also  drawn  from  a  simple  proposition  culled 
out  of  disciplinarian  arguments:  "in  Scripture  there  must  be  of  necessitie 
contained  a  forme  of  Church-politie  the  lawes  whereof  may  in  no  wise  be 
altered'1  (1:193.3—6).  Epistemology  continues  to  figure  prominently 
while  discussions  focus  on  standards  for  the  life  of  the  Christian 
Church  rather  than  on  the  determination  of  standards  for  human 
behavior  in  general.  Accordingly,  ecclesiology  joins  epistemology  as  a 
second  major  topic  of  the  book. 

Following  an  introductory  essay  (chap.  1),  Hooker  proceeds  to 
discuss  particular  scriptural  norms  urged  by  the  disciplinarians  for 
determining  church  polity  (2—7),  the  legitimacy  of  reason  as  such  a 
norm  (8—9),  and  the  manner  by  which  Scripture  and  reason  may  be 
employed  together  in  ordering  church  life  (10—11.13).  Following  these 
increasingly  lengthy  sections  is  a  review  of  the  argument  (11.14—21). 



The  first  chapter  on  "the  nature  of  the  church"  is  an  expository 
essay  preliminary  to  a  consideration  of  the  norms  by  which  its  "lawes 
of  politie  or  government"  might  be  determined  (§  1;  1:194.24—27). 
Hooker  makes  no  explicit  reference  to  his  disciplinarian  opponents. 
Phrases  from  Ephesians  provide  the  foundation  for  his  ecclesiology: 
"one  bodie  .  .  .  one  horde  .  .  .  one  faith  .  .  .  one  baptisme"  (§§  3—7;  1:196. 
3—7).  He  next  provides  categories  to  take  account  of  the  reality  of 
division  when  idolatry,  heresy,  excommunication,  and  reform  separate 
Christians  from  one  another  (§§  8-13).  The  final  section  (14)  em- 
phasizes that  the  church  is  not  an  assembly,  but  an  organic  public 
society  with  the  characteristics  that  he  has  laid  down  in  Book  I  for  all 
human  societies.  He  concludes  with  a  definition  of  "Church-politie": 
the  form  of  ordering  "the  publique  spirituall  affayres  of  the  Church  of 
God,"  including  "both  governement  and  also  whatsoever  besides" 
belongs  to  its  public  order  (§  14;  1:206.26-31). 

Chapters  2  to  7  consider  a  set  of  disciplinarian  arguments  for  the 
exclusive  use  of  scriptural  norms  in  determining  church  polity.  Hooker 
first  responds  to  two  objections  that  Cartwright  had  raised  to  Whit- 
gift's  defense  of  the  terms  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement  (chaps.  2-4): 
Whitgift  had  severed  discipline  and  church  government  from  the 
weightier  matters  of  faith  "necessarie  unto  salvation,"  and  he  had 
abridged  "the  large  and  rich  contents"  of  the  Bible's  directions  for 
church  polity  (2.2;  1:208.12-209.19  and  s).  Hooker  insists  that  the 
Gospel  and  even  writings  of  disciplinarians  make  "some  thinges 
necessarie,  some  thinges  accessorie  and  appendent  onely."  In  the  first 
category  he  includes  "articles  of  Christian  fayth  [the  ancient  creeds], 
and  the  sacramentes"  (3.3-4;  211.7-212.4  and  v).  Playing  on  the 
imagery  of  Cartwright's  critique,  Hooker  claims  that  "it  is  no  more 
disgrace  for  scripture  to  have  left  a  number  of . . .  thinges  free  to  be 
ordered  at  the  discretion  of  the  Church,  then  for  nature  to  have  left  it 
unto  the  wit  of  man  to  devise  his  owne  attyre"  (4.1;  213.4-7).  Hook- 
er "willingly"  grants  that  the  "precepts  that  scripture  setteth  downe 
are  not  fewe  . . .  even  in  particularities"  but  insists  that  they  support 

On  Hooker's  ecclesiology,  see  pp.  169—174,  below. 
15  Compare  1.10,  esp.  §§  11  and  14  (106:22-23  and  109.7-110.16);  see  Introduc- 
tion to  Book  I,  108-116,  above. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

"not  that  forme  which  [disciplinarians]  imagine,  but  that  which  we 
against  them  upholde"  (4:1;  1:213.18-25). 

Chapters  5—7  discuss  a  proof-text  from  Deuteronomy  which,  from 
the  time  of  the  Admonition,  had  reverberated  through  all  the  discipli- 
narian writings  to  demonstrate  that  "nothing  ought  to  be  established  in  the 
Church  which  is  not  commaunded  by  the  worde  of  God"  (5.1;  214.15—21). 
After  pointing  out  that  no  church,  including  that  of  Christ  and  the 
apostles,  has,  or  even  could  have,  strictly  followed  such  an  injunction 
(chap.  6),  Hooker  considers  Cartwright's  interpretive  modification: 
since  the  Bible  could  not  include  "every  thing  in  specialtie,"  Cart- 
wright  had  noted  "fower  generall  rules"  in  St.  Paul's  writings  by 
which  church  affairs  may  be  governed  (7.1;  216.22—217.8  and  n). 
Such  rules,  Hooker  counters,  are  simply  "edicts  of  nature"  which  the 
church  would  have  "stood  bound  to  observe"  whether  or  not  Paul 
had  repeated  them  (7.2;  217.30-218.3).  Although  these  general  rules 
are  not  laws  that  "require  anie  one  particular  thing  to  be  done," 
Hooker  observes  that  Admonitioners,  Cartwright,  and  Travers  all 
arbitrarily  insist  that  before  they  will  conform,  they  "require  some 
speciall  commandement  for  that  which  is  exacted  at  their  hands." 

Chapters  8—10,  together  with  11.1—13,  link  Book  I  with  the  topical 
polemic  of  the  Lawes.  Here  Hooker  describes  the  manner  by  which 
the  general  principles  of  his  understanding  of  revelation  and  reason 
may  be  applied  to  the  life  of  the  Christian  Church.  Hooker  attacks 
an  inclination  among  Puritans  to 

thinke  they  cannot  admire  as  they  ought  the  power  and  authori- 
tie  of  the  word  of  God,  if  in  things  divine  they  should  attribute 
any  force  to  mans  reason.  For  which  cause  they  never  use  reason 
so  willinglie  as  to  disgrace  reason.  (8.4;  221.25—29) 

Cartwright  had  attempted  to  soften  the  specificity  of  the  require- 
ment that  all  church  orders  must  be  "commaunded  in  the  Word  of  God" 
not  only  by  his  four  general  rules  but  also  by  interpreting  the  phrase 
to  mean  that  they  must  be  "grounded  upon"  Scripture  (8.1—2;  220.19— 

Chap.  7.4;  1:218.19-219.3  and  18-24;  see  l:218.31-35.n  and  218.35-219.3.n. 
See  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  84—86,  above. 



20).  Dispatching  this  proposed  resolution  by  demonstrating  its  patent 
ambiguity,  Hooker  moves  on  to  the  basic  epistemological  question, 
largely  setting  aside  until  chapter  1 0  the  specific  issue  of  their  applica- 
tion to  church  order.  God's  will  is  made  known  "by  light  of  nature 
and  not  by  scripture  alone"  in  spite  of  Puritan  efforts  to  make  the 
name  of  nature  "hatefull  with  men"  (8.3-4;  221.10,  17-18).  He  then 
identifies  six  arguments  that  nurture  the  opinion  that  "the  waye  to  be 
ripe  in  faith  [is]  to  be  rawe  in  wit  and  judgement;  as  if  reason  were  an 
enimie  unto  religion,  childish  simplicitie  the  mother  of  ghostlie  and 
divine  wisedome"  (8.4—5;  222.24—28).  He  responds  to  these  arguments 
one  by  one  (8.6—11)  and  in  the  remainder  of  chapter  8  elaborates  on 
his  response  to  the  sixth,  which  had  claimed  that  human  reason  is 
irrelevant  to  the  leadings  of  God's  spirit  (8.12—18).  Using  the  example 
of  the  way  people  are  brought  to  Christian  conviction,  Hooker  dis- 
cusses the  relation  of  the  Bible  to  both  tradition  and  reason.  Although 
the  tradition  of  the  church  first  draws  men  and  women  to  a  convic- 
tion that  "the  scriptures  are  the  oracles  of  God  him  selfe"  (8.13;  1:231. 
5—6),  in  the  confirmation  of  that  faith  as  well  as  in  an  initial  conver- 
sion, reason  plays  an  essential  role: 

if  I  beleeve  the  gospel,  yet  is  reason  of  singular  use,  for  that  it 
confirmeth  me  in  this  my  beleefe  the  more:  If  I  doe  not  as  yet 
beleeve,  nevertheles  to  bring  me  to  the  number  of  beleevers 
except  reason  did  somwhat  help,  and  were  an  instrument  which 
God  doth  use  unto  such  purposes,  what  should  it  boote  to 
dispute  with  Infidels  or  godles  persons  for  their  conversion? 
(8.14;  232.10-15) 

Hooker  discusses  the  operation  of  God's  spirit  in  leading  "true"  Chris- 
tians to  either  truth  or  right  action  (8.15)  and  the  role  of  reason  in  the 
interpretation  of  Scripture  (8.16).  Citing  New  Testament  accounts  of 
Christ  and  of  apostles  employing  reason  (8.17),  he  concludes  that 

the  selfe  same  spirit,  which  revealeth  the  things  that  god  hath  set 
down  in  his  law,  may  also  be  thought  to  aid  and  direct  men  in 
finding  out  by  the  light  of  reason  what  lawes  are  expedient  to  be 
made  for  the  guiding  of  his  Church,  over  and  besides  them  that 
are  in  scripture.  (8.18;  235.7-11) 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

In  chapter  9,  expressly  citing  Thomas  Aquinas's  discussion  of  law, 
Hooker  asserts  that  human  lawes,  including  ecclesiastical  laws,  must 
agree  with  "the  generall  laws  of  nature  . . .  without  contradiction  unto 
any  positive  law  in  scripture."  Since  "the  light  of  naturall  understand- 
ing wit  and  reason  is  from  God,"  laws  so  framed  "have  God  him  selfe 
for  their  author"  (9.1-3;  237.27-29,  238.25-27,  and  239.1 1).18 

In  chapters  10  and  11.1—13,  Hooker  describes  how  reason  and 
Scripture  together  may  be  employed  in  determining  the  appropriate 
application  of  specific  scriptural  injunctions  to  church  polity.  Hooker's 
argument  in  chapter  10  is  largely  expository  with  only  brief  citations 
of  three  Puritan  writers:  Dudley  Fenner,  Cartwright,  and  Travers. 
At  this  point,  he  draws  heavily  on  both  the  assertion  of  Book  I  that 
Scripture  contains  and  reaffirms  many  natural  laws  and  on  its  descrip- 
tion of  the  character  of  positive  laws  that  appear  in  the  Bible  (see  1.12 
and  15).  He  considers  the  conventional  division  of  Old  Testament 
laws  into  moral,  ceremonial,  and  judicial  (10.1-4).  Moral  laws,  identi- 
fied with  the  law  of  nature,  remain  in  full  force:  God  is  their  author, 
they  were  published  in  Scripture,  but  they  stand  on  their  own,  as  the 
purposes  for  which  God  instituted  them  remain.  Ceremonial  laws 
are  abrogated:  although  God  is  their  author  and  they  were  committed 
to  Scripture,  their  purpose  has  ceased.  The  status  of  judicial  laws  is 
more  ambiguous:  God  is  their  author,  they  were  committed  to  Scrip- 
ture, and  "in  a  great  part"  the  end  for  which  they  were  instituted 
continues;  nonetheless,  the  "alteration  of  persons  or  times"  may  have 
rendered  them  "unsufficient  to  attain  unto  that  end"  (10.4;  1:243.2- 
10).  Considering  New  Testament  patterns  "which  belong  to  discipline 
and  outward  politie"  to  be  of  the  same  category  as  Old  Testament 
judicial  laws,  Hooker  concludes  that  those  too  may  be  "changed  as  the 
difference  of  times  or  places  shall  require"  (10.5—7;  245.1—7). 

Hooker  next  considers  a  frequently  used  disciplinarian  argument 
that  Christ  would  not  have  been  faithful  had  he  not  left  as  detailed 
instructions  to  the  church  as  God  had  given  Israel  through  Moses 

See  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  120-122,  above. 

19  Chap.  10.3,  6,  and  8;  1:241. z,  244.a,  and  246.c. 

20  For  identity  of  the  moral  law  with  that  of  Moses,  see  1.12.1,  16.5,  and  III.9.2 
(1:120.1-15,  138.21-139.10,  237.9-12). 




(11.1—6).  Hooker  observes  that  in  framing  Old  Testament  laws, 
God  "had  an  eye  unto  the  nature  of  that  people  and  . . .  countrey." 
For  the  multinational  Christian  church,  therefore,  rather  than  one 
uniform  "kinde  of  positive  Lawes"  for  all,  "peculiar  and  proper 
considerations"  need  to  be  taken  into  account  (11.6;  251.1—10). 
Hooker  turns  the  Puritan  argument  upside  down  by  suggesting  that 
the  detailed  positive  laws  and  the  continuing  "extraordinary  means, 
oracles,  and  Prophets"  by  which  God  personally  responded  to  daily 
"new  occasions"  in  the  life  of  ancient  Israel  reinforce  the  conclusion 
that  the  Christian  church,  since  it  lacks  such  direction,  must  have 
"freedome  and  libertie  graunted  to  make  lawes"  (11.7—10;  256.1—9). 

After  an  analysis  of  a  text  (1  Tim.  6:14),  which  disciplinarians  had 
urged  in  support  of  their  cause  (11.11),  Hooker  examines  the  distinc- 
tions which  the  disciplinarians  make  between  those  things  "in  externall 
discipline  or  regiment"  that  they  claim  to  be  immutable  and  those 
they  deem  changeable.  Disciplinarian  principles  for  such  distinctions, 
when  carefully  examined,  in  contrast  with  their  applications,  are  found 
to  agree  with  those  of  supporters  of  the  establishment  (11.12—13). 
They  concur  that  although  "the  lawes  of  Christ"  are  not  to  be  altered 
in  matters  of  substance,  differences  of  "times,  places,  persons,  and 
other  the  like  circumstances"  require  changes  in  lesser  matters  "as  the 
Church  shall  judge  it  expedient."  Hooker  concludes  that  the  discipli- 
narians must  demonstrate  that  "we  have  eyther  added  or  abrogated 
otherwise  then  we  ought,  in  the  matter  of  Church-politie"  (11.13; 
260.11—13  and  261.7—20).  On  such  grounds,  which  take  account  of 
changing  historical  contexts,  Hooker  was  prepared  to  debate  the 
specialties  of  Books  V— VIII. 

Hooker  begins  the  final  section  of  the  book  with  brief  chapter-by- 
chapter  summaries,  incorporating  additional  data  and  arguments  into 
his  resumes  of  chapters  2  and  4  and  concluding  with  the  first  part  of 
chapter  11  (§§  14—17).  He  tersely  dismisses  some  of  the  "more 
familiar  and  popular"  disciplinarian  arguments,  including  some  intend- 
ed to  enforce  the  specifics  of  Genevan  polity  (11.18-20).  Hooker 

For  discussion  of  the  disciplinarian  writings,  see  nn  to  1:247.8—248.6.^,  247.21— 
25,  248.9-H.i,  and  248.28-30./ 

22  The  additional  data  appears  in  11.15-16  (1:261.30-263.21  and  263.23-264.15). 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

possibly  added  this  latter  section  after  he  had  decided  to  issue  the  first 
four  books  in  1593,  before  the  complementary  discussions  of  the 
"specialties"  were  ready  for  publication.  Hooker's  final  words  in 
this  book  take  the  disciplinarians  to  task  for  urging  what  God  "in 
congruity  of  reason  ought  to  do"  instead  of  searching  out  and  admir- 
ing "what  God  hath  done"  (11.21;  269.24-27). 

Book  IV 

Ecclesiology  constitutes  the  principal  underlying  issue  in  Book  IV, 
with  special  concern  for  determining  the  norms  of  religious  ceremo- 
nial. As  Hooker  confronts  Puritan  accusations  that  the  polity  and 
practices  of  the  English  church  are  too  akin  to  those  of  Rome  and  too 
unlike  those  of  foreign  Reformed  churches,  he  applies  standards  for 
the  use  of  reason  and  Scripture  in  light  of  the  historical  perspectives  he 
has  developed  and  demonstrated  in  Books  II  and  III. 

Book  IV  opens  and  closes  with  expository  essays  (chaps.  1  and  14). 
After  the  opening  discussion  of  ceremonies,  Hooker  turns  to  an 
extended  series  of  disciplinarian  objections  to  the  norms  of  the  Eliza- 
bethan church  (chaps.  2-10).  He  then  considers  three  major  issues  in 
successive  chapters:  Jewish  origins  of  ceremonial,  the  scandalous 
character  of  Roman  ceremonies,  and  the  lack  of  conformity  with 
other  Reformed  churches  (chaps  11-13).  In  Books  II  and  III,  he 
similarly  cleared  away  the  less  weighty  issues  in  brief  early  chapters  (1— 
4;  2—7)  before  confronting  the  heavier  timber  of  his  opponents' 
arguments.  The  book  concludes  with  a  discussion  of  the  Church  of 
England  in  ecumenical  perspective  (chap.  14). 

The  opening  essay  (chap.  1)  roots  church  ceremonial  in  "some 
ground  of  reason  [found]  even  in  nature,"  for  "visible  solemnitiejs]" 
have  universally  characterized  human  societies  in  "publique  actions 
which  are  of  waight  whether  they  be  civil  and  temporall  or  els  spiritu- 
al and  sacred"  (§  3;  1:274.14-18).  Distinguishing  permanent  substance 
from  variable  ceremonial  in  sacraments,  Hooker  notes  that  although 
that  substance  has  been  delivered  "in  few  wordes  . . .  the  due  and 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  37—44,  above. 



decent  forme  of  administring  those  holy  sacraments,  doth  require  a 
great  deale  more"  (§  2;  273.21—28).  He  closes  by  citing  both  Travers 
and  Cartwright  to  demonstrate  how  thin  the  dividing  line  is  between 
the  two  gospel  sacraments  and  other  "significant  ceremonies"  in 
church  life  (§  4;  276.12-20). 

Among  the  initial  series  of  objections  to  English  church  ceremonies 
which  Hooker  identifies,  he  turns  first  to  the  accusation  of  excessive 
pomp  in  the  rituals  prescribed  by  the  Prayer  Book  (chap.  2).  He  then 
catalogues  Puritan  arguments  why  Roman  ceremonies  should  not  be 
emulated  (chap.  3),  demonstrates  the  inconsistency  of  advanced  Protes- 
tant practice  with  theory  (chap.  4),  and  finally  responds  to  the  argu- 
ments, one  by  one  (chaps.  5—10). 

Countering  the  complaints  of  Travers  and  Cartwright  that  the 
"outwarde  statelines"  of  English  church  ceremonies  has  "departed 
from  the  auncient  simplicitie  of  Christ  and  his  Apostles,"  Hooker 
comments  on  the  difficulty  of  knowing  the  details  of  apostolic  practic- 
es but  rests  his  case  on  the  principle  established  in  Book  III  of  the 
need  to  recognize  changing  historical  contexts  (2.1  and  3;  1:276.27—28 
and  278.19-279.2). 

Again  invoking  both  Travers  and  Cartwright,  who  demand  "the 
utter  relinquishment  of  all  thinges  popish,"  Hooker  cites  their  list  of 
biblical  and  patristic  proof-texts  (3.1-2;  280.17—18).  When  pressed,  his 
opponents  admit  that  even  ceremonies  used  by  Rome  that  are  not 
required  by  Scripture  need  not  be  abolished  unless  they  are  "unprof- 
itable, or  when  as  good  or  better  may  be  established."  In  common 
Puritan  rhetoric,  however,  the  mere  fact  of  similarity  to  the  ceremo- 
nies of  Rome  provides  sufficient  reason  to  urge  authorities  "to  do 
them  away"  (4.1  and  3;  285.16-19  and  287.15-19). 

Hooker  dispatches  what  he  judges  to  be  Cartwright's  specious 
interpretation  of  a  sentence  from  Augustine,  considers  Old  Testament 
texts  that  demonstrate  God's  concern  that  ancient  Israel's  distinctive 
customs  mark  their  "carefull  seperation"  from  neighbors,  and  responds 
to  a  catena  of  patristic  citations  that  purport  to  show  how  the  early 
church  "would  have  the  christians  differ  from  others  in  their  ceremonyes"  (6.2 
and  7.1;  290.10  and  293.8-12).  He  insists  that  reasons  other  than  "care 
of  dissimilitude"  dictated  the  laws  intended  to  separate  Jew  and  Chris- 
tian from  pagan  (6.3  and  7.3;  292.26  and  295.5-9).  As  Hooker's  re- 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

sponses  become  increasingly  distant  from  the  relevant  Puritan  texts  in 
chapter  3,  he  sprinkles  additional  brief  quotations  as  reminders  of  the 
point  under  discussion. 

Hooker  responds  to  appeals  to  the  maxim  that  "evils  must  be  cured  by 
their  contraries,"  to  the  danger  that  Rome  may  be  encouraged  by  the 
maintenance  of  similar  ceremonies,  and  to  the  grief  that  envelops  "godly 
brethren"  who  are  forced  to  behold  them.  Hooker  provides  brief  ad  homi- 
nem  responses  to  each  of  these  reasons  for  "the  utter  evacuation  of  all 
Romish  ceremonies"  (8.1,  9.3,  and  10.1;  298.13-14,  303.25,  and 

Having  dispatched  reasons  for  abolishing  all  ceremonies  not  required 
by  Scripture,  Hooker  considers  three  weightier  objections  that  apply 
only  to  some  (chaps  11—13).  Citing  patristic  writers,  Puritans  had 
objected  to  ceremonies  of  Jewish  origin.  After  discussing  the  judaizing 
controversy  recounted  in  the  New  Testament,  Hooker  concludes  that 
the  church  retained  many  elements  of  Jewish  religion  but  repudiated 
others.  The  church  had  in  "no  one  thing  so  manie  and  so  contrarie 
occasions  of  dealing  as  about  Judaisme"  (11.9;  314.30—32),  and  he 
insists  that,  as  the  church  cannot  be  deprived  of  liberty  "to  use  names 
whereunto  the  [Jewish]  lawe  was  accustomed,  so  neither  are  we 
generally  forbidden  the  use  of  the  things  which  the  [Jewish]  lawe 
hath"  (11.10;  316.14-16).  Because  the  patristic  citations  treat  of  special 
issues,  they  do  not  establish  a  general  rule  prohibiting  all  ceremonies 
that  originated  in  Judaism. 

Hooker  judges  that  the  "waightiest  . . .  [and]  most  worthy"  objec- 
tion to  Roman  ceremonies  concerns  those  they  claim  to  have  been  so 
"grosly  and  shamefully  abused"  that  they  may  become  "grievous 
causes  of  offence"  (12.1;  319.17-320.2).  After  observing  that  people 
are  only  scandalized  "when  they  are  moved  . . .  unto  sinne,"  Hooker 
examines  a  series  of  historical  instances  of  such  scandal.  Turning  to  the 
misused  ceremonies  under  discussion,  Hooker  asks,  who  are  they 
"whom  we  scandalize,  by  using  harmeles  things  unto  that  good  end 

Such  quotations  appear  at  or  near  the  beginning  of  each  chapter:  7.1  (293.8- 
12),  8.1  (298.z),  9.1  (301.6),  and  10.1  (305.17-22).  Additional  quotations  in  these 
chapters  repeat  the  texts  given  in  chapter  3:  8.3  (300. a),  9.2  (302. c),  9.3  (303. e),  and 
10.2  (306.£). 



for  which  they  were  first  instituted?"  (12.2-5;  320.16-17  and  323.7- 
9).  If  "here  or  there  some  one  be  found"  who  is  led  astray  by  such 
ceremonies,  the  proper  action  is  not,  as  Puritans  suggest,  to  take  the 
ceremonies  away  from  everyone,  but  rather  to  cure  "such  evils  by 
instruction"  of  those  few  who  need  it  (12.7—8;  325.2—3,  11—12  and 
326.3).  In  fact,  those  pastors  who  "have  raysed  contention"  about  rites 
and  ceremonies  might  have  more  productively  spent  their  "time  and 
labour"  in  teaching  their  flocks  than  in  making  "bitter  invectives 
against  the  ceremonies  of  the  Church"  (12.8;  326.12—16  and  30—31). 
The  third  complaint  is  that  "divers  things"  have  been  retained  that 
"all  the  Churches  .  .  .  of  our  confession  in  doctrine"  have  abrogated.  Hook- 
er acknowledges  a  certain  hypothetical  value  in  ceremonial  uniformity 
among  churches  "to  thavoyding  of  dissention"  (13.1  and  2;  328.12— 
25),  but,  short  of  a  general  council  (impractical)  or  of  the  establish- 
ment of  a  single  judicial  authority  over  the  whole  church  (undesir- 
able), he  sees  no  way  for  such  uniformity  to  be  achieved.  Mutual 
emulation  is  unworkable,  and  Cartwright's  proposal  that  England 
should  follow  the  continental  churches  whose  reformation  preceded 
England's  is  unreasonable  (13.8—9).  Since  the  Bible  and  reason  provide 
the  grounds  for  decisions  about  ceremonial, 

seeing  the  law  of  God  doth  not  prescribe  all  particular  ceremo- 
nies which  the  Church  of  Christ  may  use, ...  it  is  not  possible 
that  the  lawe  of  nature  and  reason  should  direct  all  Churches 
unto  the  same  things,  ech  deliberating  by  it  selfe  what  is  most 
convenient.  (13.8;  1:332.24-29) 

The  final  chapter  of  Book  IV  is  an  essay  on  the  reformation  of  the 
Church  of  England  in  the  larger  perspective  of  the  western  church. 
Hooker  affirms  the  necessity  of  the  reforms  which  had  altered  its  "re- 
ceaved  lawes  ...  as  had  beene  in  former  times  an  hinderance  unto 
pietie  and  Religious  service  of  God."  Yet  change  of  laws  in  any 
human  society  can  "with  the  common  sorte  impaire  and  weaken  the 
force  of  those  groundes,  whereby  all  lawes  are  made  effectuall";  hence, 
if  the  expected  benefit  be  small,  it  may  be  better  "to  beare  a  tollerable 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

soare  . . .  then  to  venter  on  a  daungerous  remedie."  Hooker  con- 
trasts "both  kinds  of  reformation,  as  well  this  moderate  kind,  which 
the  church  of  England  hath  taken,  as  that  more  extreme  and  rigorous 
which  certaine  Churches  elsewhere  have  better  liked"  (14.6,  342.33— 
343.3).  Book  IV  concludes  with  a  brief  account  of  the  course  of 
reformation  under  four  Tudor  monarchs.  Alluding  to  what  seemed  to 
many  Elizabethans  the  charmed  longevity  of  their  queen  who,  at  her 
coming  to  the  crown,  had  raised  the  reformed  religion  "as  it  were  by 
myracle  from  the  dead,"  Hooker  proposed  that 

if  any  refuse  to  believe  us  disputing  for  the  veritie  of  religion 
established,  let  them  believe  God  himselfe  thus  myraculouslie 
working  for  it,  and  wish  life  even  for  ever  and  ever  unto  that 
glorious  and  sacred  instrument  whereby  he  worketh.  (14.7; 
344.4-7  and  28-32)26 

itf.  Authorities  Quoted  and  Cited 

Hooker's  choices  of  the  authorities  whom  he  quotes  and  cites 
provide  clues  to  the  character  of  these  three  books  of  the  Lawes. 
Three-fourths  of  the  explicit  references  in  Books  II  to  IV  are  to 
authorities  of  earlier  ages  whom  he  recognizes  and  trusts  his  readers 
will  also  acknowledge.  The  other  quarter  consists  almost  entirely  of 
references  to  Puritan  works  which  he  wishes  to  refute. 

Scripture  and  Traditional  Sources 

Authoritative  references  to  Scripture  are  ubiquitous:  they  outnum- 
ber by  three  to  one  all  other  citations  of  authorities.  Hooker  normally 
translates  New  Testament  texts  directly  from  the  Greek,  sometimes 
employing  it  as  an  exegetical  tool.     Occasionally,  the  rendering  is  so 

25  14.1-2;  336.20-22,  337.19-22,  and  338.17-20. 
See  Introduction  to  Book  VIII,  pp.  346-348,  below. 

27  For  examples  of  the  Greek  serving  Hooker's  arguments,  see  nn  to  2:228.11- 
14. c  and  233. 21-25. i;  for  other  examples  of  idiosyncratic  translations,  see  290.22-26 
and  291.19-30  and  nn  to  234.13-18.fe,  257.19-21.m,  320.10-ll.fe,  320.32.*,  and 



free  as  to  suggest  that  Hooker  is  working  from  memory.  Although 
he  had  served  as  deputy  professor  of  Hebrew  at  Oxford  in  1579,  he 
quotes  the  Old  Testament  from  the  Geneva  translation;  when  he  does 
use  his  knowledge  of  Hebrew,  it  is  not  for  the  Old  Testament  but  for 
an  ancient  Jewish  chronicle. 

In  Books  II— IV,  Hooker  includes  thirteen  classical,  two  ancient 
Jewish,  and  sixty-seven  patristic  references.  The  relative  proportion  of 
classical  to  early  Christian  writers  is  the  reverse  of  that  in  Book  I, 
consistent  with  the  narrowing  of  focus  of  these  three  books.  With 
the  exception  of  two  references  to  Cicero,  Hooker's  use  of  classical 
works  graces  his  argument,  rather  than  providing  its  substance.  From 
Cicero  Hooker  drew  an  assertion  central  to  his  epistemological  con- 
victions: the  law  of  nature  cannot  be  of  God  unless  that  light  of  na- 
ture, human  reason,  is  also  from  God.  Otherwise,  his  classical  ref- 
erences merely  provide  human  examples  for  the  points  he  is  making. 

Hooker  drew  on  his  mastery  of  Hebrew  in  a  reference  to  a  second- 
century  Jewish  chronicle  of  events  from  creation  to  Hadrian's  destruc- 
tion of  Jerusalem  in  135  AD.  Using  the  chronicle  to  inform  his  New 
Testament  exegesis,  he  turns  to  Josephus,  the  first-century  Jewish 
historian,  whose  writings  were  well  known  to  western  scholars  in  the 
original  Greek,  to  illuminate  ceremonial  standards  of  first-century 

References  to  early  Christian  writers  of  the  first  eight  centuries 
range  from  Irenaeus,  the  second-century  Greek-speaking  bishop  of 
Lyons,  to  Bede,  the  eighth-century  English  monk  of  Jarrow.     The 

28  See  l:187.26-27.»  and  1:267.32-268. l.a.n. 
29IV.11.6;  l:313.i;. 


See  Introductions  to  The  Preface,  pp.  65-66,  and  to  Book  I,  pp.  92-95,  above. 
Classical  references:  Cicero,  see  n.  31  below;  Aristotle,  nn  to  1:157.4-7. v,  212.20- 
22.w  (2  reft.),  220.31-221.1.^,  and  246.21-23/;  Plato,  212.20-22.u/.n;  Velleius 
Paterculus,  1:171. 5-6.r.n;  Proclus,  174.1-3.n;  Tacitus,  196.i.n;  Livy,  275.27-276.2/n, 
and  for  possible  silent  use,  341.17-26.n;  Homer,  303.7-8.rf.n.  For  other  possible 
classical  allusions,  see  nn  to  248.16-22,  275.6-14,  and  301.25. 

III. 2.1;  see  1:207. 19-20.r.n  and  152.20.n;  two  other  possible  uses  of  Cicero  are 
noted  in  248.16-22.n  and  291.32-292.3.n;  see  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  94-95, 

32  See  nn  to  1:216.9-10  and  313.2-9.1/. 

On  Hooker's  patristic  references,  see  John  K.  Louma,  "Who  Owns  the  Fathers? 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

collections  of  conciliar  records  and  of  the  early  ecclesiastical  historians 
are  represented  along  with  thirty-three  other  works  from  twelve  Latin 
writers  and  one  each  from  five  Greek  authors.  Augustine  and  Tertulli- 
an  each  claim  almost  one-quarter  of  the  patristic  references,  reflecting 
Augustine's  enormous  influence  in  the  western  church  both  in  medi- 
eval centuries  and  through  the  Reformation  and  Tertullian's  popularity 
in  the  sixteenth  century.  In  spite  of  the  latter's  heretical  Montanism  of 
his  later  years,  his  writings  constituted  the  first  substantial  corpus  of 
Christian  theological  essays  written  in  Latin.     Many  sixteenth-centu- 

Hooker  and  Cartwright  on  the  Authority  of  the  Primitive  Church,"  and  William  P. 
Haugaard,  "Renaissance  Patristic  Scholarship,"  Sixteenth-Century  Journal,  8  (1977):  45— 
59  and  10  (1979):  37-60,  respectively. 

Patristic  references  in  II-IV  are  as  follows:  (citations  in  brackets  were  introduced 
into  the  discussion  by  Hooker's  opponents):  Augustine,  see  nn  to  1: 157.18-21. w, 
224.19-21,,  273.18-27,  277.24-26.),  294.17-21,  294.23-29.1/,  294.29- 
32,  329.15-21,  340.30-32./>,  [159.7-ll.x,  173.2-5.C,  182.23-33  (2),  182.34-183.11 
(2),  262.6-16.*,  and  277.28-278.4];  Tertullian,  nn  to  162.4-5,  197.8-10.m,  206.2-4.M, 
207.12-13./),  224.30-225.21. u,  244.18-20.fc,  315.13-17.*,  321.1-4.0,  331.26-30.1, 
[159.1  l-15.y,  161.9-10.e,  162/ and  9-13,  on  De  corona  from  163.15  to  165.32-35, 
282.19-23.u-,  282.23-25.X,  and  295.23-24.*];  Councils  from  3rd  century  African  to 
7th  century  Trullan,  nn  to  1:200.9-30,  9-lO.a,  10-14;»,  c,  \4-20.d,  e,  and  20-30, 
201.3/,  317.10-16.£,  321.22-29.j>,  [282.13-17.M,  282.17-19.1/,  309.15-18./,  and 
316.32-317.5.</,  «];  compare  4:38.18.n  with  l:282.w  and  309./;  Gregory  the  Great,  nn 
to  1:321.22-29.^,  329.12-15,  and  [173.5-8.*/];  Irenaeus,  nn  to  197.12-14.M,  14-16, 
16-20,  and  20-23,  [172.20-23.y,  and  182.2-16];  Jerome,  nn  to  159.22-23.a,  201.3- 
4/  and  [182.16-22];  Leo  I,  nn  to  314.22-27.Z,  [172.25-173.1.*,  173.2-fc,  173.19-20, 
and  174.11];  Socrates,  nn  to  319./  and  [309.14-15.Jfc];  Eusebius,  nn  to  [309.8-1 3J  and 
319.6-7.;'];  Aristeas,  216.4-8.n;  Bede,  322.$.3-7.n;  Cyprian,  318.27-31. fi.n  (160.16- 
161.2. </.n);  Pseudo-Dionysius,  275.21-24.e.n;  Pseudo-Eusebius  of  Emesa,  322.^.1- 
3.n;  Hilary,  159.23-24.fc.n;  Isidore,  322.g.7-8.n;  Lactantius,  207.19-20.r.n  (for  a 
passage  from  Cicero);  Sulpitius  Severus,  310. 20-27. n.n;  Chrysostom,  [172.23— 25. z.n]; 
and  Origen,  [171. 13-16.  w.n].  Eleven  possible  silent  uses  of  patristic  material  are  noted 
in  the  Commentary;  see  nn  to  248.16-22  and  321.10-11  (Augustine),  232.1-6 
(Clement  of  Alexandria  and  Justin  Martyr),  199.29-31  and  238.1-5  (Cyprian),  275.6- 
14  (Isidore  of  Seville  and  Sidonius  Appolinaris),  201.24-27  (Jerome),  338.2-6 
(Minucius  Felix),  and  321.18—20  (Sozomen). 

Montanism  was  a  second-century  movement,  condemned  by  the  main  body  of 
Christians,  claiming  to  possess  new  revelations  by  contemporary  prophets  and  insisting 
on  severe  discipline  and  rigorous  morality. 



ry  reformers  placed  special  value  on  writings  closest  to  New  Testament 
times  because  of  their  commitment  both  to  the  authority  of  Scripture 
and  to  a  historiography  that  presumed  a  rapid  decline  of  the  church 
from  its  original  purity.  Hooker  also  drew  on  Irenaeus,  who  was 
similarly  valued,  although  his  second-century  work  was  only  available 
in  Latin  translation.  Records  of  the  early  church  councils  and  referenc- 
es to  Gregory  the  Great,  Irenaeus,  Jerome,  and  Leo  I  all  appear  in 
these  books  three  or  more  times.  Next  to  Augustine,  Gregory  was  the 
patristic  authority  most  frequently  quoted  by  western  medieval  theolo- 
gians. Although  Gregory  was  often  disparaged  by  reformers  for  his 
advancement  of  papal  prerogatives,  Hooker  unhesitatingly  introduces 
him  as  an  authority  in  two  theological  discussions. 

Hooker's  use  of  the  church  Fathers  was  both  extensive,  judicious, 
and,  for  the  age,  scholarly,  although  he  was  not  always  as  careful  as  a 
modern  scholar  might  wish.  Renaissance  humanist  scholarship  bore 
fruit  in  Hooker's  treatment  of  patristic  texts.  At  times  both  Cartwright 
and  Whitgift  tediously  reproduced  lists  of  quotations  as  if  they  had 
been  lifted  en  masse  from  a  commonplace  book.  One  of  the  appeals  of 
the  Lawes  is  Hooker's  ability  to  take  a  chain  of  Cartwright's  citations, 
examine  them,  and  then  respond,  either  by  putting  them  into  their 
proper  context  or  by  dismissing  them  outright,  trusting  the  reader's 
good  judgment  to  understand  that  they  did  not  prove  Cartwright's 
case  (II.6.4;  1:174.8-14). 

In  the  most  extensive  treatment  of  a  patristic  text  in  Books  II  to  IV, 
Hooker  responds  to  Cartwright's  citation  of  Tertullian's  De  corona  to 
validate  negative  arguments  from  Scripture  (II. 5. 7).  Condemning  the 
wearing  of  the  pagan  garland  by  Christians,  Tertullian  insisted  that, 
while  some  might  say  "it  is  permitted  which  is  not  forbidden,"  in 
truth,  "it  is  forbidden  which  is  not  permitted."  Hooker  employed 
common-sense  textual  criticism  to  rectify  a  garbled  sentence  in  a 
sixteenth-century  text.  His  use  of  historical  critical  methods  is  yet 
more  impressive.  After  describing  the  historical  context  of  the  inci- 
dent and  casting  doubts  on  the  objectivity  of  the  author,  Hooker  then 

35  See  nn  to  1:160.16-161.2.4  173.2-5.C,  and  173.21-25,  below. 

See  nn  from  1:163.15  to  166.18-19;  for  Hooker  as  a  textual  critic,  see  164.12- 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

surprises  the  reader  by  using  the  text  in  question  as  a  clear  witness 
against  Cartwright.  The  third-century  writer  had  argued  that  the 
church  strictly  kept  long-used  customs  "wherof  no  lawe  of  scripture 
maketh  mention  one  way  or  other."  The  Tertullian  text  validated  not 
negative,  but  positive  arguments  from  Scripture:  a  long-standing  church 
custom  to  abjure  garlands  was  binding  "unlesse  they  could  shew  some 
higher  law  . . .  of  scripture  to  the  contrarie."  Appealing  beyond  the 
text  to  the  larger  Tertullian  corpus,  Hooker  concludes  that  on  closer 
examination,  Cartwright's  very  example  proves  that  Tertullian  "was  of 
a  cleane  contrarie  minde."  This  is  both  effective  polemical  writing  and 
scholarly  humanist  criticism:  Hooker  sets  the  historical  context  of 
author  and  text,  recognizes  human  dynamics  and  foibles,  and  unravels 
the  concrete  issues,  all  in  graceful  nontechnical  language. 

Hooker  unknowingly  quoted  one  medieval  theologian  when  he 
took  the  writings  of  Arnold  of  Bonneval  for  those  of  Cyprian  of 
Carthage,  but  he  explicitly  cited  two  other  Latin  and  two  Greek 
medieval  writers  in  Books  III  and  IV,  calling  upon  them  positively  for 
clarification  of  fact  or  conviction.  The  citations  show  nothing  of 
the  hesitancy,  outright  repudiation,  or  careful  qualification  with  which 
many  Reformation  theologians  approached  writings  from  a  period 
they  identified  with  ecclesiastical  corruption  and  deformed  theology. 
Hooker  makes  only  three  direct  references  in  these  books  to  Thomas 
Aquinas,  but  just  as  in  Book  I,  the  influence  of  the  theologian  whom 
Hooker  describes  as  "the  greatest  amongst  the  Schoole  divines"  is 

Hooker  first  paints  the  background  in  noting  Christian  disagreement  over  this 
issue.  Dating  the  work  to  Tertullian's  Montanist  period  and  suggesting  that  the  sect's 
rigorism  underlay  the  moral  judgment,  he  notes,  with  an  unstated  glance  at  Puritans, 
that  in  the  "heate  of  distempered  affection,"  speech  may  reveal  "more  egernes  then 
waight."  He  judges  Tertullian's  reasoning  on  the  appropriateness  of  flowers  worn  on 
the  head  to  be  an  outright  "imbecillitie."  See  Haugaard,  "Renaissance  Patristic 
Scholarship,"  pp.  58-59. 

Medieval  references:  Thomas  Aquinas,  see  notes  39—41,  below;  Arnold  of 
Bonneval,  see  1:160.16-161. 2. d.n,  and  Introduction  to  Book  V,  pp.  217-218,  below; 
Gratian,  see  nn  to  235. 17-18. m  and  241.9-1 1.x,  below;  Nicephorus  Callistus,  see 
31 0.20-27. n.n;  Constantinus  Hermenopulos,  see  325.9— 13.  w.n;  for  a  possible  silent  use 
of  Bracton,  see  275.2— 3.n. 



more  pervasive  than  the  number  of  citations  might  suggest.      The 
explicit  references,  all  in  Book  III,  draw  from  Aquinas's  discussions  of 
foundations  of  ecclesiology  and  law,  topics  central  to  the  Lawes. 
Aquinas's  theology  is  also  reflected  on  occasions  when  Hooker  does 
not  explicitly  invoke  his  authority. 

Engagement  with  Contemporary  Writers 

Of  the  one  quarter  of  Hooker's  references  that  engage  sixteenth- 
century  writers,  only  5%  explicitly  cite  continental  Reformers  or 
supporters  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement.  Even  in  the  most  abstruse 
theological  passages  of  the  Lawes,  Hooker's  range  of  vision  always 
included  the  opponents  whose  movement  and  writings  had  provoked 
him  to  embark  on  this  "carefull  endevour."  An  overview  of  the 
ninety-six  citations  to  advanced  Protestant  writings  can  help  us  to 
understand  his  theological  method  in  Books  II— IV.  Puritan  opponents 
are  omnipresent.  On  the  average,  one  such  citation  appears  on  every 
two  pages  of  the  present  edition.  Hooker  did  not,  however,  allow 
the  Puritan  framing  of  arguments  and  accusations  to  determine  the 
structure  of  his  essay.  He  himself  determined  what  he  regarded  to  be 
the  crucial  issues,  selecting  from  among  their  writings  appropriate  foils 
for  his  exposition. 

In  Books  II  and  IV  Hooker  limits  such  citations  entirely  to  Cart- 
wright's  responses  to  Whitgift  and  to  Travers's  programmatic  challenge 
to  the  Elizabethan  settlement.  In  Book  III  three  other  disciplinarian 
authors  are  also  cited:  John  Udall,  Dudley  Fenner,  and  the  pseudony- 
mous Martin  Marprelate.  Hooker  may  have  judged  these  as  providing 

39  III.9.2  (1:236.25-24);  and  see  Introduction  to  Book  I,  p.  92,  above. 

40  For  these  references,  see  nn  at  1: 195.32-1 96.3.e,  236.27-237.6.0,  and  237.24- 
21. p.  On  Hooker's  use  of  this  material,  see  pp.  172—173,  below. 

41  For  such  places,  see  nn  at  1:155.33-156.2,  223.28-29,  230.2,  232.25-33, 
232.33-233.9,  233.15-18,  236.27-237.6.0,  237.8-9,  240.14-32,  242.9-13,  242.29- 
243.6,  and  249.19-251.10;  for  other  mentions  of  Thomas  in  the  Commentary,  see  nn 
at  145.14.d,  195.28-32,  and  273.18-27. 

In  addition  to  the  96  direct  citations,  the  commentary  notes  53  additional 
references  to  advanced  Protestant  writings  which  cast  light  on  Hooker's  text. 
See  above,  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  72-77. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

starker  statements  of  his  opponents'  positions  as  he  understood  them. 
Only  here  and  in  the  Preface  does  Hooker  refer  to  what  in  Book  V 
he  termed  "the  scurrilous  and  more  then  Satyricall  immodestie  of 
Martinisme"  Ped.7;  2:5.17-18). 

Of  the  ninety-six,  seventy-eight  are  to  Cartwright's  three  replies  to 
Whitgift,  and  one  other  identifies  the  1572  Admonition  to  Parliament 
that  had  evoked  Whitgift's  initial  Answere.  Topical  outlines  of  the 
volumes  of  each  writer  (two  of  Whitgift,  three  of  Cartwright)  reflect 
the  structure  of  the  Admonition,  and  each  responded  point  by  point  to 
the  other's  arguments.  In  contrast,  in  Books  II-IV,  Hooker  cited 
only  4%  of  the  pages  in  Cartwright's  three  volumes,  and  these  pages 
are  bunched  in  scattered  sections  of  the  disciplinarian  arguments. 
Even  when  one  takes  into  account  the  remaining  four  books  on  "the 
specialities"  in  which  Hooker  was  to  consider  other  parts  of  Cart- 
wright's writings,  it  is  evident  that  Hooker  simply  discarded  the  pole- 
mical pattern  of  his  predecesors. 

It  has  been  argued  that  Hooker's  polemic  in  the  Lawes  "from  its 
outset  was  directed"  to  the  Seconde  Replie,  which  Whitgift  had  left 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  71-72,  above.  The  Admonition  reference, 
without  a  marginal  note,  is  a  paraphrase  whose  original  Hooker  attributed  to  the 
"Admonitioners"  (III. 7. 4;  1:218.35-219.3).  He  may  intend  the  reference  also  to 
include  A  Second  Admonition  to  the  Parliament,  an  anonymous  Puritan  pamphlet  of  the 
same  year  (1572;  STC  4713);  see  214.15-21.x.n  and  218.35-219.3.n.  Over  half  the 
citations  to  Cartwright  (46)  are  in  Book  IV;  19  are  in  II  and  13  in  III.  The  three 
occasional  disciplinarians  cited  in  Book  III:  Udall  (nn  to  1:247.8-248.6.^  and  248.9— 
11./);  Fenner  (nn  to  212.t/.l-3,  241.26-242.9.Z,  and  266.31-267.9);  and  Marprelate 
(247. 8-248. 6.g.n).  For  possible  silent  references,  see  nn  to  243.12-24,  245.16-17, 
256.9-20/,  and  265.18-25. 

For  the  Whitgirt-Cartwright  debate,  see  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  n.  152, 
above.  Hooker's  patron  John  Jewel  had  carried  on  two  similar  series  of  debates  with 
the  Roman  Catholic  Thomas  Harding;  see  1:171.1  .n  and  171.2—4.n. 

46  In  Replye  of  224  pages,  Hooker  cites:  pp.  10,  25-27,  30-32,  35,  71-73,  89, 
131—133,  165,  170,  and  216;  the  Commentary  notes  six  other  pages  relevant  to 
Hooker's  discussion:  48,  84,  177,  191,  192,  and  196.  In  Seconde  Replie  of  666  pages, 
Hooker  cites:  pp.  1,  5,  19-21,  29,  48,  50,  55-56,  58-61,  80-81,  440,  446,  and  the 
Table;  the  Commentary  notes  two  other  pages:  20  and  55.  In  The  Rest  of  the  Second 
Replie  of  265  pages  Hooker  cites:  pp.  171,  174,  176-183,  241,  and  the  Table;  the 
Commentary  notes  one  other  page:  73. 



unanswered.  Can  the  Lawes  be  considered  an  extrapolated  renewal 
of  the  Cartwright-Whitgift  debate  after  a  hiatus  of  a  decade  and  a  half? 
In  a  general  sense,  of  course,  Hooker  was  Whitgift's  successor:  in  his 
dedication  of  Book  V  to  Whitgift  he  declared  that  he  had  been  led 
"by  your  Graces  example"  (§  2;  2:2.25).  However,  the  theory  that 
Cartwright's  Seconde  Replie  was  Hooker's  specific  target  is  supported 
neither  by  the  text  of  the  Lawes  nor  by  the  circumstantial  evidence  of 
the  controversy.  In  the  last  decade  of  the  century,  advanced  Protestants 
were  socially  and  politically  powerful,  and  the  disciplinarian  move- 
ment, approved  even  when  not  fully  endorsed  by  many  within  that 
broad  spectrum,  challenged  the  foundations  of  the  Elizabethan  reli- 
gious settlement.  From  the  first  page  of  the  Lawes  that  movement  was 
Hooker's  explicit  target.  If  he  set  out  principally  to  respond  to  Cart- 
wright's  Seconde  Replie  and  to  The  Rest  of  the  Second  Replie,  we  would 
expect  that  he  would  have  cited  a  larger  proportion  of  these  later 
volumes  than  of  Cartwright's  initial  Replye.  Hooker  cited  8.9%  of  the 
pages  of  Replye  but  only  2.6%  of  the  pages  of  Seconde  Replie  and  4.5% 
of  the  pages  of  The  Reste  of  the  Second  Replie;  thus  he  gave  more 
attention  to  the  same  text  that  Whitgift  had  already  answered  in  his 
Defense  than  to  Cartwright's  subsequent  responses. 

Hooker  began  his  public  role  as  a  defender  of  the  Elizabethan 
settlement  at  the  Temple  in  1585  in  the  struggle  with  Walter  Travers, 
his  kinsman  by  marriage.  Eleven  years  earlier  Travers  had  published 
his  first  and  most  important  book:  Ecclesiasticae  disciplinae,  et  Anglicanae 
Ecclesiae  ab  ilia  aberrationis  plena  e  verbo  Dei,  &  dilucida  explicatio,  and 
Cartwright  had  translated  it.     This  critique  of  the  polity  of  the  English 

Rudolph  Almasy,  "The  Purpose  of  Richard  Hooker's  Polemic,"  Journal  of  the 
History  of  Ideas,  29  (1978):  270.  In  spite  of  this  too  narrow  interpretation  of  Hooker's 
polemical  intentions,  Almasy's  discussion  effectively  demonstrates  the  extent  of 
Hooker's  use  of  Cartwright,  detailing  the  ways  in  which  Hooker  in  Book  II  em- 
ployed, extended,  and  occasionally  corrected  Whitgift's  arguments. 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  51-55,  above,  and  5:264—269  (this  edn.). 

Although  the  title  page  of  the  Explicatio  designates  "La  Rochelle"  as  the  place 
of  printing,  it  was  printed  by  Michael  Shirat  in  Heidelberg;  see  S.  J.  Knox,  Walter 
Travers  (1962),  pp.  29-31.  The  translation  is  entitled  A  full  and  plaine  declaration  of 
ecclesiasticall  discipline  owt  off  the  word  off  God  and  off  the  declininge  off  the  churche  off 
England  from  the  same  ([Heidelberg,  1574],  STC  1574),  and  came  from  the  same  press. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

Church  has  been  described  by  Collinson  as  the  "first  definitive  treat- 
ment of  presbyterian  government"  at  the  parochial  level. 

Although  Hooker  does  not  cite  Travers's  work  in  the  Lawes  until 
Book  III,  he  refers  to  the  Explicatio  in  eleven  references  in  Books  III 
and  IV.  Although  Hooker  cites  Cartwright's  trilogy  seven  times 
more  often  than  he  does  Travers's  single  volume,  he  cites  4.4%  of 
Travers's  pages,  comparable  to  the  4.2%  of  the  pages  of  Cartwright 
cited,  thus  treating  Travers  with  a  scholarly  respect  equal  to  that 
accorded  Cartwright. 

Taken  together,  then,  Cartwright  and  Travers  account  for  over  90% 
of  the  citations  of  advanced  Protestant  writings  in  Books  II— IV. 
Neither  appears  in  Book  I,  and,  in  the  Preface,  Cartwright  provides 
only  a  quarter,  and  Travers,  none  of  the  Puritan  citations.  George 
Cranmer  referred  four  times  to  Cartwright's  writings  in  his  critique  of 
Book  VI  and  once  in  his  letter.  In  Edwin  Sandys's  critique  of  VI, 
he  urged  Hooker  to  "set  down  Mr  Cartwrights  and  W.  T.  woords  at 
large  in  the  margent"  (3:137.21).  Although  the  replies  of  Cartwright 
and  the  Explicatio  of  Travers  were  fifteen  to  twenty  years  old  by  the 
time  of  the  publication  of  the  first  volume  of  the  Lawes,  Cranmer  and 

50  E.P.M.,  pp.  107-108. 

51  See  1:218.31-35,  246.e,  248.28-30.;,  265.1  l-12.y,  276.6-12.,?,  .19-29./t,  and 
.26.1,  280.7.0,  286.6-8.C,  305.2-5/,  and  309.1.1.  The  Commentary  suggests  another 
eleven  texts  from  the  Explicatio  that  may  underlie  Hooker's  discussions;  see  nn  at 
212.4-10,  214.15-21.*,  247.8-248.6.^,  247.21-25,  248.9-ll.«,  256.9-20/,  258.7- 
14.«,  265.17-18,  265.18-25,  265.27-266.1,  and  281.29-282.12.  Consistently  using 
the  Latin  original,  Hooker  renders  it  in  English  himself  rather  than  using  Cartwright's 
translation;  see  276.6-1 2.g.n. 

2  Cartwright's  three  volumes  total  1,155  pages.  Travers's  Explicatio  has  147  folios 
or  294  pages.  Of  the  latter,  Hooker  cites:  fols.  4,  5,  8,  12,  51,  52,  94,  95,  97,  98,  100, 
and  the  table;  in  one  explicit  mention  of  the  Explicatio  (IV.2.1;  l:276.i),  where 
Hooker  gave  no  folio  number,  one  of  a  number  of  pages  might  have  been  cited  (see 

Cartwright  is  cited  only  four  times  and  Travers  not  at  all  among  fifteen  explicit 
references;  see  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  n.  151,  above. 

54  See  3:121.27,  125.16./,  127.27./,  129.15  and  §  2  of  the  letter,  l:36.15-53.15.n, 
below.  In  addition  to  Cartwright,  Cranmer  referred  to  Laurence  Chaderton's  1580 
sermon,  a  staple  of  "disciplinarian"  polemic  (3:124.1).  See  Introduction  to  The 
Preface,  pp.  41—45,  above. 



Sandys  assumed,  as  did  Hooker  himself,  that  these  constituted  the  most 
authoritative  of  disciplinarian  writings.  Hooker  and  his  consulting 
critics  targeted  no  individual  Puritan  author.  Throughout  the  Lawes 
proper,  Hooker  consistently  wrote  of  "they"  and  "them,"  just  as  he 
addressed  his  Preface  in  the  second  person  collectively  to  "you  whose 
judgement  is  a  lantame  of  direction"  to  the  disciplinarian  community 
(Pref.  4.1;  1:21.12).  His  target  was  the  movement  as  a  whole,  and 
among  those  who  actively  worked  for  it,  Travers  and  Cartwright  were 
in  the  forefront  of  the  theologically  learned. 

Cranmer  and  Sandys  had  both  expressed  a  concern  in  their  critique 
of  Book  VI  that  Hooker  quote  his  opponents  accurately.  On  the 
whole,  Hooker  took  to  heart  his  critics'  injunctions.  He  took  occa- 
sional liberties  in  reproducing  details  to  put  such  writings  in  better 
form  for  the  context  of  his  discussions,  and  he  selected  those  passages 
that  seemed  to  him  to  be  "as  seedes  from  whence  the  rest  that  ensue 
have  growne"  (II. 1.2;  1:145.2-3),  but  neither  procedure  seriously 
distorted  the  authors'  intentions  for  them. 

Hooker  does  not  volunteer  references  to  writings  of  other  support- 
ers of  the  Elizabethan  settlement.  Only  the  works  of  Jewel,  whom 
Hooker  describes  as  "the  worthiest  Divine  that  Christendome  hath 
bred  for  the  space  of  some  hundreds  of  yeres"  (II. 6. 4;  171.2-3),  are 

Sandys  seemed  to  have  been  satisfied  with  Hooker's  documentation  of  his 
opponents  in  the  1593  printed  volume,  for  after  the  words  quoted  above  in  this 
section  on  setting  down  words  "in  the  margent,"  Sandys  wrote:  "Els  will  your 
discourse  want  much  credit  of  sinceritie:  which  in  your  former  it  hath  especially  by 
that  meanes"  (3:137.22-25).  But  Cranmer,  with  Sandys's  mark  indicating  his  agree- 
ment with  the  statement,  had  written:  "I  could  wishe  that  through  all  the  bookes  you 
should  be  carefull  of  the  quotations  both  of  their  sentences  and  of  other  auctorityes 
alleaged  (for  in  the  former  bookes  you  knowe  there  is  a  defect  that  way)"  (3:129.4-7). 
The  seeming  contradiction  is  resolved  if  the  chronological  relationships  between  the 
two  critiques  of  Book  VI  are  as  proposed  above:  namely,  that  defects  in  documen- 
tation pointed  out  by  Cranmer  in  earlier  drafts  of  the  Preface  and  Books  I-IV  were 
corrected  before  publication;  see  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  p.  51,  above.  For 
other  such  comments  of  Cranmer,  see  3:108.35,  114.24-30,  115.14-15  and  24, 
121.17-29,  and  125.16-29;  for  Sandys's,  see  3:134.32-33,  1:36.34-36,  137.20-24,  and 
139.4-6  and  22-26. 

S6  See  nn  at  1:150.20-23,  153.10-H.o,  155.8-11,  and  282.1 2-283. l.u. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

cited  in  Books  II  and  IV,  and  in  both  cases,  it  was  Cartwright  who 
had  brought  Jewel  in  as  a  witness  against  Whitgift.  For  some  years 
after  the  Admonition,  as  Cranmer  remarked  in  his  letter  to  Hooker, 
only  Whitgift  had  "stood  in  the  gap"  to  support  the  establishment  (see 
1:36.15— 53.1 5.n,  §  1),  but  by  the  mid-1 580s  other  writers  had  begun 
to  contribute.  In  spite  of  the  fact  that  Hooker  did  not  cite  them, 
parallels  on  occasion  suggest  silent  borrowings,  and  although  Whit- 
gift's  own  name  is  absent  from  the  marginal  documentation  of  Books 
II— IV,  his  role  in  the  exchanges  with  Cartwright  is  implied  in  Hook- 
er's frequent  references  to  Cartwright's  three  volumes.  The  closest  he 
comes  to  naming  Whitgift  in  the  debate  was  in  a  passive  circumlocu- 
tion such  as  "beeing  asked  to  what  . . .  and  why,  . . .  their  aunswere  is 
. . ."  (IV.13.1;  1:327.28-328.2).  And  although  Hooker's  books  cannot 
be  adequately  characterized  as  a  conclusion  to  the  Cartwright- Whitgift 
debate  in  which  Cartwright  had  had  the  most  recent  say,  Whitgift's 
two  books,  to  which  Cartwright  had  responded  in  such  detail,  supply 
an  indispensable  context  for  the  Lawes. 

iv.  Epistemology:  Hermeneutics  and  Authority 

Both  Hooker  and  his  adversaries  agreed  that  the  Bible  was  authori- 
tative for  Christian  life  and  teaching,  but  these  three  books  of  the 
Lawes  show  that  Hooker  identified  previously  unexamined  herme- 
neutical  principles  as  themselves  fundamental  "generalities  of  the  cause 
in  question"  (1:345.5).  Hooker  consistently  drew  on  Scripture 
throughout  the  treatise,  and  his  biblical  references  in  Books  II— IV 
provide  evidence  of  his  understanding  of  scriptural  authority  and  its 

57  See  nn  to  l:212.i/.l-3  and  266.31-267.9  (John  Bridges);  258.7-14.W  (Richard 
Bancroft),  1 60.8-161. 8.<:  (Matthew  Sutcliffe?);  264.9-15,  268.6-13,  and  341.17-342.7 
(Hadrian  Saravia);  251.14-20.1/,  256.9-20;/;  260.3-7,  and  326.6-16  (Whitgift).  In 
none  of  these  latter  did  Hooker  treat  Cartwright's  later  responses  to  Whitgift  in  Second 
Replie;  rather,  he  focused  on  the  text  of  the  initial  Replye,  providing  answers  substan- 
tially like  those  of  Whitgift. 

See  pp.  126-127,  above.  On  Hooker's  understanding  of  scriptural  authority,  see 
Egil  Grislis,  "The  Hermeneutical  Problem  in  Hooker,"  S.R.H.  (1972),  pp.  159-206; 
John  S.  Coolidge,  The  Pauline  Renaissance  in  England  (1970),  chap.  1;  and  Peter  Lake, 
Anglicans  and  Puritans?  (1988),  esp.  pp.  144-160. 



relation  to  human  reason  and  church  tradition.  The  distinctive  origi- 
nality of  these  understandings  stand  out  when  compared  with  those  of 
his  opponents  and  precursors  in  the  debate. 

Biblical  Hermeneutics  in  the  Renaissance 

Hooker  takes  the  biblical  texts  with  as  much  seriousness  as  do  his 
opponents,  but  he  employs  distinctive  hermeneutical  techniques  in  his 
exegesis  of  them.  Renaissance  humanism,  together  with  the  Gutenberg 
revolution,  provided  newly  crafted  philological  tools  which  made  the 
sixteenth-century  Reformation  possible.  A  concern  for  the  original 
languages,  grammar,  textual  accuracy,  and  the  recognition  of  the 
historical  contexts  of  ancient  texts  all  contributed  to  new  biblical 
understandings.  As  heir  to  these  tools,  Hooker  employed  them  so  as  to 
deploy  his  scriptural  citations  as  substantive  rather  than  decorative 
references,  contributing  directly  to  the  course  of  the  argument  even  if 
they  are  not,  as  in  some  cases,  the  focus  of  the  argument  itself  Re- 
garding one  central  humanist  principle  of  interpretation,  Hooker  later 
remarked,  "I  holde  it  for  a  most  infallible  rule  in  expositions  of  sacred 
scripture,  that  where  a  litterall  construction  will  stand,  the  farthest 
from  the  letter  is  commonlie  the  worst"  (V.59.2;  2:252.5-7).  But 
Hooker's  hermeneutical  debt  to  Renaissance  humanism  went  further. 
He  brought  two  distinctively  humanist  perspectives  to  bear  on  biblical 
interpretations,  integrating  them  into  his  Thomist-Aristotelian  philo- 
sophical and  theological  framework:  (1)  a  sense  of  the  continuity  of 
the  sacred  history  of  revelation  with  the  larger  human  scene  to  which 
it  belonged,  and  (2)  a  complementary  sense  of  movement  in  secular 
history,  in  which  changing  times  and  circumstances  alter  the  ways  in 
which  the  authority  of  Scripture  is  to  be  invoked  and  applied.  These 
two  perspectives  were  not  entirely  absent  from  the  writings  of  other 
scriptural  commentators  of  the  era,  but  Hooker  applies  them  with  a 
consistency  that  distinguishes  his  hermeneutics  and,  arguably,  foreshad- 
ows biblical  critical  methods  of  the  future. 

Hooker's  epistemology  is  based  on  an  understanding  of  the  com- 
plementary character  of  grace  and  nature,  revelation  and  reason. 
Declaring,  in  the  theological  tradition  of  Thomas  Aquinas,  that  "nature 
hath  need  of  grace  . . .  [and]  grace  hath  use  of  nature"  (III. 8.6;  1:223. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

28—29),  Hooker  assumes  the  complementarity  of  the  book  of  Scrip- 
ture and  the  book  of  nature:  he  moves  easily  from  one  to  the  other, 
he  describes  their  interpenetration,  and  he  uses  similar  criteria  for 
discussing  them.  To  show  how  "nature  hath  need  of  grace,"  Hooker 
took  an  example  from  Acts  in  which  Festus,  "a  meere  naturall  man," 
was  unable  to  perceive  God's  saving  act  in  Jesus  Christ  that  Paul,  by 
"Gods  good  grace,"  declared  to  him  (1:223.14—26).  Placing  sacred  and 
secular  history  side  by  side,  Hooker  pairs  Paul  and  Tacitus  as  common 
witnesses  to  the  world's  "execrable"  estimation  of  the  name  "Chris- 
tian," and  Peter  and  Josephus  as  symmetrical  witnesses  to  Jewish 
fasting  customs  (III. 1.4  and  6.1;  196. i  and  216.8-11). 

Over  and  above  the  supernatural  laws,  unique  to  Scripture,  that 
make  salvation  possible,  Hooker  insists  that  the  Bible  also  contains 
both  natural  and  human  laws  (1.12  and  15).  Even  though  by  their  very 
presence  in  the  Bible  they  are  acknowledged  as  God's  laws  by  revela- 
tion, the  conditions  under  which  they  operate  and  the  situations  to 
which  they  apply  are  subject  to  the  same  considerations  and  limitations 
as  are  natural  laws  derived  through  the  processes  of  reason  and  human 
laws  determined  by  those  who  legislate  them.  This  continuity  of 
human  laws  and  life,  in  and  out  of  the  Bible,  enabled  Hooker,  as  he 
interpreted  Scripture,  to  take  fuller  account  of  the  human  dimension 
of  the  text  than  did  most  of  his  contemporaries.  Unlike  modern 
scholarly  students  of  biblical  texts,  Hooker  could  speak  of  scriptural 
texts  that  literally  contain  "manifest  testimony  cited  from  the  mouth 
of  God  himself";  at  the  same  time,  in  common  with  such  scholars,  he 
recognized  the  human  limitations  inherent  in  many  of  those  texts 
(II.7.5;  180.25-26). 

In  response  to  what  he  perceived  as  a  willingness  to  use  reason  "to 
disgrace  reason,"  Hooker  employs  Scripture  to  demonstrate  the  lim- 
itations of  Scripture,  drawing  from  the  Bible  itself  examples  to  counter 
the  claim  that  reason  is  unable  "to  search  out  and  to  judge  of  things 
divine"  (III.8.4  and  6;  221.27-28  and  223.9-10).  In  Jesus's  call  to  the 
Jews  to  believe  because  of  his  works  and  in  Thomas's  demand  to  see 
and  feel  Jesus's  nail-prints,  Hooker  found  evidence  to  demonstrate 

See  Introduction  to  Book  I,  p.  92,  above. 



"that  there  may  be  a  certaine  beliefe  grounded  upon  other  assurance 
then  Scripture"  (II.4.1;  152.5-12).  If  it  were  true,  as  disciplinarians 
claimed,  that  "all  thinges  must  be  commaunded  of  God  [by  written 
scriptures]  which  may  be  practised  of  his  Church,"  then,  Hooker 
asked,  where  had  the  Jews  of  the  Old  Testament  found  justification 
for  established  ceremonies  that  were  described  by  texts  in  Joshua, 
Judges,  and  the  fourth  Gospel  (HI. 11. 15;  262.16-28)? 

Hooker  demonstrates  the  interlocking  character  of  revelation  and 
natural  human  faculties  when  he  observes  that  "of  things  necessarie  the 
verie  chiefest  is  to  knowe  what  bookes  wee  are  bound  to  esteeme 
holie,  which  poynt  is  confest  impossible  for  the  scripture  it  selfe  to 
teach."  Reformed  theologians  taught  that  the  Bible,  through  the 
operation  of  the  Holy  Spirit  in  the  believer,  is  self-authenticating.61 
Hooker  accepts  statements  of  such  "grave  and  learned"  theologians 
about  the  need  for  "the  testimony  of  the  spirit,"  but  he  reinterprets 
them  to  mean  that  "the  special  grace  of  the  holy  ghost"  must  concur 
with  "other  motives  . . .  consonant  unto  reason"  to  create  faith.  Rea- 
son remains  the  test  by  which  the  very  operation  of  the  spirit  may  be 

Albeit  the  spirit  lead  us  into  all  truth  and  direct  us  in  all  goodnes, 
yet  bicause  these  workings  of  the  spirit  in  us  are  so  privy  and 
secret,  we  therfore  stand  on  a  plainer  ground,  when  we  gather  by 
reason  from  the  qualitie  of  things  beleeved  or  done,  that  the 
spirit  of  God  hath  directed  us  in  both.  (III. 8. 15;  232.16-25, 

Not  only  is  reason  necessary  in  order  to  determine  that  the  Bible  is 
indeed  God's  revelation,  but  "betweene  true  and  false  construction" 

1.14.1  (1:125.11—13);  for  Hooker's  development  of  this  observation,  see  II. 4. 2, 
7.3,  111.12-15  (1:153.13-25,  177.27-34,  230.7-233.9),  and  p.  165,  below. 

"They  whom  the  holy  ghost  hath  inwardly  taught,  doe  wholy  reste  uppon  the 
Scripture,  and  .  . .  that  same  Scripture  is  to  be  credited  for  it  self  sake,  and  ought  not 
to  be  made  subject  to  demonstration  and  reasons;  but  yet  that  the  certaintie  which  it 
getteth  among  us,  it  atteineth  by  the  witnesse  of  the  holy  ghost";  Calvin,  Institutes, 
1.7.5;  STC  4415,  fol.  15r.  See  pp.  136-137  and  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  77- 
79,  above. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

of  the  scriptural  text  "the  difference  reason  must  shew."  The  "use  of 
naturall  reasoning  about  the  sense  of  holy  scripture"  provides  the  only 
means  of  interpreting  the  Bible  (III. 8. 16;  233.20  and  15—16).  In 
contrast  with  the  issue  of  self-authentication  of  the  Bible,  Hooker's 
opponents  would  have  agreed  with  him  concerning  the  necessity  of 
human  reason  in  biblical  interpretation,  once  the  authority  of  the  text 
had  been  accepted.  Yet  his  explicit  insistence  upon  the  role  of  reason 
in  the  operation  of  the  Holy  Spirit  reflected  an  epistemological  con- 
cern to  assert  both  the  legitimacy  of  reason  alongside  revelation  and 
their  interlocking  continuity  as  dual  sources  of  knowledge  of  "things 

Hooker  produces  his  evidence  from  the  Bible  itself.  He  describes 
from  Acts  instances  of  the  Apostles'  reasoning  on  the  text  of  the 
Psalms,  of  Paul  and  Barnabas  using  reason  to  win  the  unconverted, 
and  of  Peter's  arguing  in  the  Council  of  Jerusalem  on  matters  of 
church  policy.  He  points  to  the  demand  in  1  Peter  that  Christians 
render  a  reason  for  their  faith  and  to  "our  Lord  and  Saviour  him 
selfe,"  who  reasoned  in  disputation  with  the  crowd.  Although  the 
complementarity  of  reason  and  revelation  was  a  heritage  from  medi- 
eval scholasticism,  sixteenth-century  humanism  provided  the  perspec- 
tive within  which  Hooker  continually  evoked  the  literary  character  of 
the  sacred  text. 

History:  An  Interpretative  Tool 

The  other  distinctive  element  of  Hooker's  hermeneutics  was  more 
exclusively  a  gift  of  the  Renaissance:  historical  contextualization.  In 
recent  years  students  of  Hooker  have  recognized  the  importance  of  his 
grasp  of  history,  a  heritage  of  earlier  Renaissance  scholars.  What  has 
not  been  sufficiently  recognized  is  the  hermeneutical  importance  of  his 
application  of  that  perspective  not  only  to  the  church  since  New  Tes- 
tament times  but  to  the  communities  of  the  Old  and  New  Testament 
themselves.  The  Lawes  insists  that  the  polity  of  the  apostolic  church  is 

62  III.8.16-17;  1:233.10-15,  234.9-18  and  18-25;  233.21-25  and  234.2-7. 

See  Arthur  B.  Ferguson,  "The  Historical  Perspective  of  Richard  Hooker: 
Renaissance  Paradox,"  Journal  of  Medieval  and  Renaissance  Studies,  3  (1973):  17-49. 



not  necessarily  appropriate  for  all  ages,  but  Hooker's  use  of  the  histor- 
ical perspective  undergirding  that  claim  extends  far  beyond  that  partic- 
ular point. 

Considering  places  of  worship  among  the  ancient  Jews,  Hooker 
imagines  them  under  bondage  in  Egypt  worshipping  in  "some  corner 
of  a  poore  cottage  . . .  peradventure  covered  in  dust  and  strawe";  he 
compares  this  with  the  tabernacle  of  the  desert  and  the  later  Jerusalem 
temple,  as  well  "framed  sutable  to  the  greatnes  and  dignitie  of  later,  as 
when  they  keepe  the  reverend  simplicity  of  auncienter  tymes"  (IV.2.4; 
1:279.13—14,  19,  and  32—33).  Hooker  insists  that  when  God  gave 
through  Moses  the  detailed  judicial  laws  of  much  of  the  Pentateuch  to 
Israel,  "in  framing  their  Lawes  [God]  had  an  eye  unto  the  nature  of 
that  people,  and  to  the  countrey  where  they  were  to  dwell"  (III. 11.6; 
251.2—3).  Convinced,  as  was  his  age,  of  the  literal  character  of  the 
scriptural  account  of  God's  direct  dealings  with  ancient  Israel,  Hooker 
introduced  historical  contextualization  into  his  interpretation  of  their 
laws  and  societal  life,  so  that  even  laws  that  were  divinely  mandated 
both  reflected  and  were  subject  to  the  particular  conditions  of  the  age 
in  which  God  promulgated  and  Israel  observed  them. 

Both  parties  to  the  debate  were  agreed  that  for  Christians,  Old 
Testament  moral  laws  continued  in  force  and  that  ceremonial  laws 
were  abrogated,  but  that  its  judicial  laws  ought  to  be  maintained  only 
if  "the  ende  for  which  [they  were]  made,  and  . . .  the  aptnes  of  thinges 
therein  prescribed"  continued  in  effect  (III.  10.1;  239.32-240.2). 64 
But  Hooker's  greater  emphasis  upon  the  judgment  of  "aptnes,"  his 
attention  to  the  historical  human  conditions  of  biblical  societies,  and 
his  flexibility  in  applying  the  ancient  ordinances  to  his  own  era  led  to 

i  65 

a  new  interpretive  tool. 

The  hermeneutical  difference  between  Hooker  and  Whitgift  pro- 
vides a  glimpse  into  Hooker's  distinctive  approach  to  Scripture.  Both 
Whitgift  and  Cartwright  would  have  agreed  with  his  statement  in 
Book  II  that  God's  scriptural  "testimonies  . . .  are  alwaies  truth  and 
most  infallible  certaintie"  (II.6.1;  167.29-168.1).  But,  although  Cart- 

See  the  quotation  from  Cartwright  in  III. 11. 13  (l:260.r). 
See  l:242.29-243.6.n  and  252.1 8-26. x.n. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

wright  and  Whitgift  disallowed  the  authority  of  some  texts  of  the  Old 
Testament  in  the  light  of  the  radical  changes  that  the  coming  of  Jesus 
Christ  had  introduced,  both  took  other  texts  at  face  value  as  they 
applied  them,  whether  to  contemporary  situations  or  to  those  de- 
scribed in  other  biblical  passages.  Hooker  introduced  a  seminal  herme- 
neutical  tool,  uniting  teleological  principle  with  historical  perspective, 
when  he  insisted  that  "the  words  of  [God's]  mouth  are  absolute  . .  .for 
performance  of  that  thing  whereunto  they  tend"  (168.3—5;  italics  added). 
The  principle  on  the  sufficiency  of  Scripture  "unto  the  end  for  which  it 
was  instituted  (1.14;  1:124.27-28)  was  not  only  to  be  applied  to  those 
things  necessary  for  salvation;  in  Hooker's  hands,  it  became  an  exegeti- 
cal  tool  to  be  applied  throughout  the  Lawes.  Cartwright,  Whitgift, 
and  Hooker  all  could  agree  that  "certain  things"  in  church  life  might 
vary  according  to  "times,  places,  persons,  and  other  the  like  circum- 
stances" (III.  10.7;  1:245.9).67  Only  Hooker  took  this  principle  of 
historical  contextualization  and,  attempting  to  identify  "purpose" 
within  the  particular  human  situation,  applied  it  not  only  to  church 
life  subsequent  to  the  New  Testament  but  to  the  exegesis  of  biblical 
passages  themselves. 

Hooker  differed  from  Whitgift  not  only  by  making  scriptural 
authority  the  central  issue,  he  also  addressed  some  of  the  same  passages 
of  Cartwright  differently.  To  support  his  insistence  on  negative  argu- 
ments from  Scripture,  Cartwright  noted  that  Jeremiah  condemned 
child  sacrifice  because  God  had  "not  spoken"  of  it  (II.6.1— 2;  1:166.33— 
167.1  and  168.12-169.4).  Both  Whitgift  and  Hooker  judged  Cartwright 
wrong  to  think  this  example  supported  the  general  force  of  negative 
arguments  from  Scripture  although  they  recognized  that  Jeremiah's 
negative  argument  in  this  case  was  obviously  strong.  However,  the  two 
ascribed  quite  different  reasons  for  Jeremiah's  use  of  the  argument: 
Whitgift,  because  child  sacrifice  was  specifically  forbidden  by  earlier 
scriptural  commands  and  because  it  involved  murder,  a  "matter  of 

In  Book  I,  Hooker  considers  the  larger  purpose  of  Scripture  for  salvation;  in 
later  books,  he  applies  the  same  principle  to  the  exegesis  of  particular  passages  within 
their  historical  contexts. 

67  Cartwright,  Replye,  pp.  15  and  17  (PS,  1:195  and  223);  Whitgift,  summarizing 
Calvin,  Answere,  p.  28-29  (PS,  1:247);  see  1:281. 17-22.n. 



substance";  Hooker,  because  child  sacrifice  did  not  fulfill  the  specific 
directions  that  God  had  laid  down  for  Jewish  sacrificial  worship. 
Unlike  his  predecessor,  Hooker  interpreted  the  text  not  by  applying  a 
universal  moral  principle  valid  in  any  historical  epoch  but  by  attempting 
to  take  account  of  the  particular  circumstances  of  ancient  Israel. 

Another  example  of  their  difference  appears  in  this  same  chapter  of 
Book  II.  Continuing  to  insist  on  the  general  force  of  a  negative 
argument  from  Scripture,  Cartwright  quoted  Isaiah's  condemnation  of 
Jews  who  had  not  sought  "counsell  at  the  mouth  of  the  horde"  but  had, 
on  their  own,  attempted  to  make  an  alliance  with  Egypt.  Whitgift 
denied  that  it  applied:  Isaiah  condemned  the  nation,  not  on  general 
principle,  but  because,  in  a  verse  of  Deuteronomy,  God  had  said  the 
Jews  must  not  return  to  Egypt.  When  Hooker  reproduced  Cart- 
wright's  text  at  the  beginning  of  the  chapter,  he  added  Whitgift's 
citation  of  Deuteronomy  (II. 6;  167.2-7).  In  his  discussion  of  the  issue, 
however,  he  not  only  omitted  any  reference  to  Deuteronomy;  he  ex- 
pressly stated  that  the  Jews  merited  Isaiah's  rebuke  even  though  they 
had  received  "no  charge  precisely  geven  them  that  they  should  al- 
wayes  take  heed  of  Egypt"  (H.6.3;  169.9-17  and  170.7-13).70  The 
Deuteronomic  command  was  appropriate  to  the  human  context  when 
God  gave  it,  and  it  could  not  be  literally  applied,  as  Whitgift  had 
done,  to  the  later  times  of  Isaiah.  Hooker  judged  that  its  time  and 
circumstances  determined — and  limited — its  general  applicability.  Since 
the  absolute  truth  of  divine  revelation  was  itself  subject  to  the  limita- 
tions of  the  creaturely  circumstances  in  which  it  was  embedded,  the 
exegete  must  take  these  into  account  in  applying  scriptural  texts  to 

68  See  l:168.5-8.n  and  168.12-169.4.n. 

69  Defense,  pp.  77-78  (PS,  1:177  and  179-180).  See  l:170.7-13.n.  Whitgift 
suggests  also  that  the  Jews  had  made  a  contrary  promise. 

70  See  nn  to  1:167.6-7,  169.4-170.32,  and  170.7-13.  Hooker  regarded  Cart- 
wright's  example  from  Isaiah  inappropriate  as  proof  of  the  "general"  authority  of 
negative  arguments  from  scripture  because  he  judged  that  Isaiah's  condemnation  was 
merited;  although  the  Jews  had  no  applicable  written  scripture,  they  did,  at  that  time, 
have  prophets  through  whom  they  might  have  asked  and  received  advice  "from  the 
mouth  of  God  himselfe"  (1:170.8). 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

situations  which  might  differ  from  those  in  the  biblical  passage  in 
which  they  occur. 

"Difference  of  times,  places,  persons,  and  other  the  like  circum- 
stances" (III. 11. 13;  261.10-11),  joined  with  the  complementarity  of 
reason  and  revelation,  define  the  hermeneutics  of  Hooker's  reading  of 
Scripture,  for  Hooker  admires 

the  wisedome  of  God,  which  shineth  in  the  bewtifull  varietie  of 
all  things,  but  most  in  the  manifold  and  yet  harmonious  dissimili- 
tude of  those  wayes,  whereby  his  Church  upon  earth  is  guided 
from  age  to  age,  throughout  all  generations  of  men.  (III. 11.8; 

Authority  of  Scripture 

All  students  would  agree  that  the  Lawes  represents  a  milestone 
among  English  theological  writings  and  that  Hooker  presented  the  case 
for  the  Elizabethan  religious  settlement  more  effectively  than  had 
anyone  before  him.  The  question  of  theological  originality  is  another 
matter.  Did  Hooker,  using  time-honored  understandings  bequeathed 
to  him,  shape  them  into  genuinely  new  theological  perspectives?  As 
Hooker  himself  recognized  by  choosing  the  disciplinarian  principles  to 
be  debated  in  the  Lawes,  the  authority  of  Scripture  and  its  relations 
with  reason  and  tradition  constituted  a  major  theological  issue  of  his 
age.  Hooker  entered  a  debate  already  under  way;  only  a  comparison 
of  his  arguments  with  those  of  his  opponents  and  allies  can  identify  the 
novelty  of  his  perspective. 

Theological  combatants  rarely  represent  the  positions  of  their 
opponents  either  fairly  or  accurately.  Cargill  Thompson  has  suggested 

Coolidge,  whose  treatment  of  Hooker  was  primarily  a  foil  to  his  interest  in  the 
Puritan  understanding  of  the  Bible,  judged  that  Hooker  "masterfully  argued"  the 
fundamental  case  for  conformity  on  the  issue  of  the  relation  of  Scripture  and  reason, 
a  case  which  " Whitgift  can  be  said  to  have  discovered";  see  Pauline  Renaissance,  p.  8. 
Lake,  in  contrast,  claims  that  Hooker  self-consciously  developed  a  "view  of  the 
relations  between  reason  and  scripture  very  different  from  that  which  passed  for 
orthodox  among  most  Elizabethan  protestants,"  leading  him  to  name  Hooker  "the 
inventor  of 'anglican'  ideology";  see  Anglicans  and  Puritans?,  pp.  153  and  230. 



that  Hooker  "deliberately  went  out  of  his  way  to  exaggerate  the 
degree  of  authority  which  the  Puritans  attributed  to  the  Bible,"  the 
principal  topic  of  Books  II  and  III.  Demonstrating  that  Cartwright 
himself  qualified  his  statements  on  biblical  authority,  Cargill  Thomp- 
son points  out  that  the  real  issue  of  the  debate  between  Whitgift  and 
Cartright  over  scriptural  authority  and  the  very  section  of  Cartwright 
from  which  Hooker  extracted  his  quotations  really  concerned  the 


extent  of  scriptural  authority  only  "in  matters  of  religion."  In  fact, 
they  only  concerned  matters  of  church  discipline  and  order.  A  more 
basic  question,  however,  remains:  to  what  extent  did  Hooker's  highly 
selective  use  of  Cartwright's  writings  accurately  uncover  the  underly- 
ing "foundation  and  root"  of  the  disciplinarian  position? 

At  the  beginning  of  Book  II  Hooker  seizes  on  the  statement  that 
Scripture's  rule  over  "all  thinges"  in  human  life  extends  "even  so  farre 
as  to  the  taking  up  of  a  rush  or  strawe."  Cartwright  in  his  Replye  had 
interpreted  Paul's  statement  that  whatever  is  not  of  faith  is  sin  (Rom. 
14:23)  to  mean  that  since  in  both  "publyke  and  private"  actions  one 
ought  to  follow  God's  word,  in  "matters  of  the  church  . . .  there  may 
be  nothing  done  but  by  the  word  of  God."  In  his  Defense,  Whitgift 
took  this  exegesis  of  Paul,  which  Cartwright  had  mentioned  in  a 
subordinate  clause,  and  he  made  an  issue  of  it  apart  from  Cartwright's 
main  thrust  about  "matters  of  the  church."  Using  a  morally  indifferent 
example  that  Thomas  had  employed,  Whitgift  introduced  the  straw, 
linking  it  with  the  observance  of  "civill  orders"  and  other  "particular 
actions,"  to  provide  a  reductio  ad  absurdum  argument.  Cartwright  took 
up  the  gauntlet,  insisting  in  the  Second  Replie  that  even  such  apparently 
free  acts  must  be  "grounded"  in  the  Bible  by  either  "generall  or 
especiall  wordes";  thus  Paul's  words  "reacheth  even  to  his  case  off 
taking  upp  a  straw."  Neither  the  common-sense  qualifications  that 
can  be  found  in  Cartwright's  writings  nor  the  actual  practice  of 
advanced  Protestants  agreed  with  the  implications  of  this  theoretical 

2  W.  D.  J.  Cargill  Thompson,  "The  Philosopher  of  the  'Politic  Society,' " 
S.R.H.,  p.  24;  rpr.  Studies  in  the  Reformation,  p.  151;  see  also  Coolidge,  Pauline 
Renaissance,  pp.  1—22. 

73  II.1.2;  1:145.13-14;  see  pp.  129-130,  above. 

74  See  Replye  (2nd  edn.),  p.  27,  and  nn  to  1:145.14,  154.2,  and  190.16-191.14. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

formulation.  Yet  once  Whitgift  staked  out  the  narrowed  ground, 
Cartwright  chose  to  defend  it.  If  Hooker's  readers  noted  the  inconsis- 
tency between  such  a  statement  and  its  qualified  interpretation  and 
Puritan  practice,  so  much  the  better  for  his  case.  Hooker  aimed  at 
what  he  judged  to  be  the  weakness  of  disciplinarian  foundations,  and 
Cartwright  had  provided  an  unambiguous  target. 

When  Hooker  makes  this  issue  the  topic  of  Book  II  of  the  Lawes, 
the  dispute  moves  outside  the  orbit  of  the  Whitgift-Cartwright  debate 
even  though  the  words  of  Whitgift  had  suggested  the  issue.  No  longer 
an  incidental  exchange  in  the  midst  of  a  plethora  of  other  issues,  the 
question  of  the  authority  of  the  Bible  becomes  a  major  theme.  Hooker 
recognizes  that  he  is  entering  on  new  territory,  for  he  judges  that  the 
issue  has  not  been  raised  "any  where  in  other  Churches"  (II.  1.2; 
1:145.4-5).  He  also  notes  that,  although  scriptural  authority  for  actions 
rather  than  for  doctrine  were  under  discussion  in  Book  II,  the  exam- 
ples he  takes  from  Cartwright's  writings  concern  "opinion"  as  much 
as  "action"  (5.2;  158:11—25).  Larger  epistemological  issues  underlie  his 
differences  with  his  disciplinarian  opponents. 

Although  the  disciplinarian  minority  was  clearly  the  explicit  target 
of  the  Lawes,  Hooker's  polemical  scythe  cut  a  wider  swath  in  the  fields 
of  English  Puritans.  Sola  scriptura  had  been  the  battle  cry  with  which 
Reformers  had  challenged  the  recognized  authorities  of  the  western 
church.  Among  the  magisterial  reforming  movements,  Luther  firmly 
resisted — and  Reformed  theologians  only  partially  acquiesced  in — the 
consequent  tendency  to  make  the  Bible  omnicompetent  in  its  ability 
to  prescribe  human  behavior.  As  English  advanced  Protestants,  whose 
spirituality  was  nurtured  by  scriptural  texts,  struggled  to  impose  their 
vision  of  godliness  on  English  society,  scriptural  omnicompetence 
became  an  unexamined  assumption  undergirding  their  attacks  on  the 
establishment.  When  Hooker  explored  the  roots  of  the  issue,  he 
provoked  a  reaction  that  was  to  simmer  for  many  years.     No  wonder 

75  Coolidge  judged  that  the  position  of  Hooker,  and  of  Whitgift  as  well,  was 
logically  unassailable  since  they  and  the  Puritans  shared  "the  same  logical  and  epistem- 
ological presuppositions"  but  that  this  really  missed  the  point  since  the  Puritan 
preoccupation  with  obedience  to  God's  word  was  "something  more  than  a  rational 
adjustment  of  man's  behaviour  to  God's  truth"  {Pauline  Renaissance,  p.  11). 

The  later  currents  include  the  seventeenth-century  Puritan  struggles  which, 



that  the  first  reply  to  the  Lawes  came,  not  from  the  disciplinarians,  but 
from  advanced  Protestants,  self-described  as  among  the  "unfayned 
favourers  of  the  present  state"  of  the  English  church.  Hooker's  careful 
distinctions  about  the  purposes  and  contexts  of  particular  scriptural 
passages  appeared  as  so  many  "sophisticall  elenches,  and  impertinent 
outleapes  [refutations  and  hyperboles],"  and  the  author(s)  of  A  Chris- 
tian Letter  suspected  "the  underpropping  of  a  popish  principle  concern- 
ing the  churches  authoritie  above  the  holy  Scripture."  Not  avowed 
disciplinarian (s),  the  conforming  author(s)  of  A  Christian  Letter  con- 
cluded that  Hooker's  form  of  argument  had  made  "a  wide  open 


breach  in  the  church"  and  had  stained  "the  pure  doctrine  of  faith." 
The  repudiation  of  biblical  omnicompetence  was  not  only  a  principal 
weapon  in  Hooker's  polemical  arsenal,  but  a  theological  principle  by 
which  he  questioned  the  epistemological  foundations  of  a  wide  spec- 
trum of  English  Protestants. 

Authority  of  Reason 

While  Cartwright  recognized  the  authority  of  reason  in  arguments, 
commenting  once  in  response  to  Whitgift  that  "reason  withowt 
authoritie  is  good,  and  authoritie  withowt  reason  nothing  worthe," 
yet,  like  Calvin,  he  did  not  admit  reason  as  a  source  of  knowledge 
about  God.  Cartwright  had  introduced  a  dictum  of  Cicero  showing 
that  reason  educated  the  consciences  of  the  "heathen"  but  employed 
it  to  demonstrate  that  it  was  Scripture,  not  reason,  that  was  to  educate 
the  Christian  conscience.  Hooker  asks  Cartwright  what  Scripture 
Cicero  had  "for  his  assurance,"  just  after  asking  if  Jews  who  observed 

through  war  and  repression,  led  to  the  separation  of  nonconformist  churches,  the 
nineteenth-century  disputes  over  science  and  historical  biblical  criticism,  and  the 
biblical  moralism  characterizing  a  significant  segment  of  English  society.  See  John  E. 
Booty,  "Hooker  and  Anglicanism,"  S.R.H.,  pp.  207-239. 

77  From  A.C.L.,  title  and  chaps.  4  and  21  (4:6.2,  16.2-3,  and  75.23,  this  edn.); 
see  also  4:75. 23.n. 

See  chap.  4  and  epilogue  (4:14-17  and  78.13-14). 

Seconde  Replie,  p.  20.  Almasy  discusses  this  section  at  length:  see  "Polemic,"  pp. 
266-269;  see  Calvin's  statement  quoted  at  1:152.3— 5.n  and  also  177.9— 14.n. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

Jesus's  works  would  not  have  done  well  without  scriptural  evidence  to 
recognize  the  Father  in  him  or  if  Thomas,  on  seeing  Jesus's  wounds, 
did  not  do  well  to  believe  his  resurrection.  Moving  on  to  believers' 
affirmation  of  the  Bible,  he  insisted  that  "the  worde  of  God  [cannot] 
assure  us,  that  wee  doe  well  to  thinke  it  his  worde"  (see  p.  156, 
above).  By  this  series  of  examples,  Hooker  was  suggesting  that  the 
same  human  capabilities  that  Cicero  had  employed  also  enabled  the 
Jews,  Thomas,  and  others  in  the  communities  of  both  Testaments  and 
the  post-apostolic  church  to  determine  truth  in  issues  touching  faith 
and  conscience  (II.4.2;  l:152.w  and  152.19-153.18). 

Human  reason  and  the  senses,  as  they  had  been  understood  and 
used  by  classical  authors,  had  appropriate  roles  to  play  in  Christian 
teaching  and  theology,  even  in  leading  men  and  women  to  acknowl- 
edge scriptural  authority  itself.  In  turning  Cartwright's  use  of  Cicero 
upside-down,  Hooker  dramatized  the  differences  that  lay  between 
them  in  their  measures  of  the  value  of  reason  in  theological  discourse. 
As  an  heir  of  Aristotle  and  medieval  scholasticism,  Hooker  judged  that 
sin  had  injured  but  not  destroyed  the  God-given  capacity  of  human 
reason  to  apprehend  the  rational  and  moral  order  of  creation.  This 
understanding  gave  him  a  double-edged  sword  in  the  debate  with 
Puritans  tending  to  biblical  omnicompetence  and  judging  the  reason 
with  which  they  interpreted  Scripture  to  be  the  particular  possession 
of  the  "godly":  (1)  the  Bible  is  not  the  only  source  of  moral  guidance; 
and  (2)  common  reason  provides  the  most  accurate  test  of  the  guiding 
of  the  Holy  Spirit  in  scriptural  interpretation. 

Heretofore,  both  advanced  Protestants  and  their  opponents  had 
argued  as  if  they  essentially  agreed  on  the  authority  of  Scripture. 
Disciplinarians  faulted  conforming  Puritans  for  overvaluing  the  magis- 
trate's authority  to  determine  matters  of  church  polity  in  ways  contrary 
to  what  they  both  judged  to  be  desirable.  They  condemned  those  who 
willingly  embraced  the  Elizabethan  settlement  as  either  disguised  semi- 
papists  or  badly  misguided  Protestants  who  simply  failed  to  understand 
the  implications  of  the  faith  they  professed.  But  all  parties — 
disciplinarians,  conforming  Puritans,  and  supporters  of  the  settlement — 

See  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  102-108,  above. 



assumed  a  common  ground  of  what  was,  on  the  whole,  an  undefined 
scriptural  authority.  By  examining  for  the  first  time  that  common 
ground,  Hooker  transformed  the  argument. 

The  most  striking  difference  between  Whitgift  and  Hooker  lies  in 
their  estimates  of  the  authority  of  human  reason  in  theological  matters. 
Discussing  negative  arguments  from  Scripture,  Cartwright  had  com- 
mented that  arguments  of  human  authorities  "neyther  affirmatively  nor 
negatively  compelleth  the  hearer."  Although  Whitgift  did  not 
mention  human  authorities  in  his  response  to  this  section,  when 
Cartwright  later  scoffed  that  "all  your  proof. . .  is  in  the  authorities  of 
men,"  Whitgift  countered  that,  in  contrast  with 

prophane  sciences  . . .  grounded  . . .  upon  naturall  and  humayne 
reason, . . .  that  we  professe  is  . . .  grounded  upon  authoritie, . . . 
to  be  beleeved,  what  reason  soever  there  is  to  the  contrarie  ...  I 
think  authoritie  in  divine  matters  to  be  the  beste  reason,  whether 
it  be  of  the  scriptures  themselves,  or  of  such  learned  men  as  so 
rightly  interpret  the  same. 

In  the  Second  Replie  Cartwright  responded  with  the  sentence  quoted 
above  that  that  "reason  withowt  authoritie  is  good,  and  authoritie 
withowt  reason  nothing  worthe"  (p.  20;  see  p.  164,  above).  Hooker 
did  not  refer  to  these  latter  two  passages  from  Whitgift  and  Cart- 
wright. Although  he  too  defended  the  value  of  human  authorities 
against  Cartwright,  he  subordinated  them  not  only  to  Scripture,  but 
also  to  that  "naturall  and  humayne  reason"  which  Whitgift  had 

although  ten  thousand  generall  Councels  would  set  downe  one 
and  the  same  definitive  sentence  concerning  any  point  of  religion 
whatsoever;  yet  one  demonstrative  reason  alleaged,  or  one  manifest 
testimony  cited  from  the  mouth  of  God  himself  to  the  contrary, 
could  not  choose  but  overweigh  them  all.  (II. 7. 5;  180.23—27) 

Human  authority  and  tradition  ultimately  rested  upon  reasoning  from 

81  Replye  (2nd  edn.),  p.  25;  PS,  1:176;  for  fuller  text,  see  II.7;  1:174.24-175.3. 

82  Cartwright,  Replye  (2nd  edn.),  p.  40  (PS,  1:427);  Whitgift,  Defense,  p.  200  (PS, 
1:435);  see  l:175.8-9.n. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

natural  or  revealed  law,  and,  accordingly,  were  subject  to  both.  There 
would  have  been  little  point  in  Hooker's  calling  attention  to  his 
disagreement  with  Whitgift;  in  the  archbishop's  polemics,  the  issue 
was  peripheral.  For  Hooker,  however,  the  defense  of  human  reason 
was  a  central  concern  of  the  first  three  books. 

Authority  of  Tradition 

Despite  Hooker's  privileging  "one  demonstrative  reason"  or  a 
"manifest"  scriptural  testimony  over  the  "opinions"  of  even  ten 
thousand  councils,  any  reader  of  the  Lawes  cannot  but  be  impressed  by 
his  respect  for  fifteen  hundred  years  of  Christian  experience.  Properly 
interpreted,  tradition  was  the  consensus  of  human  reason  within  the 
Christian  community,  and  Hooker  subordinates  it  only  to  the  Bible 
and  "demonstrative"  reason,  for  "the  most  certaine  token  of  evident 
goodnes  is,  if  the  generall  perswasion  of  all  men  do  so  account  it" 
(1.8.3;  1:83.17-19).83  Regard  for  the  stability  provided  by  received 
heritage  resonates  throughout  the  Lawes.  The  "alteration  of  lawes  [is] 
sometimes  a  thing  necessary,"  but  such  alterations  "must  needes  be 
troublesome  and  scandalous"  (IV.14.1;  337.10-11,  22-23),  and  "if  the 
benefit  of  that  which  is  newly  better  devised  bee  but  small, ...  no 
doubt  but  to  beare  a  tollerable  soare  is  better  then  to  venter  on  a 
daungerous  remedie"  (§  2;  338.17—20). 

Although  Hooker  defends  "the  authority  of  men"  on  different 
grounds  and  to  a  different  degree  than  Whitgift,  he  defends  that 
authority  with  conviction,  and  his  wide  citations  of  voices  from  the 
past  testify  to  the  seriousness  with  which  he  takes  the  "wise,  grave, 
and  learned  judgments"  that  tradition  provides  (II. 7. 6;  183.17—18). 

The  word  "tradition"  had  gained  a  perjorative  connotation  among 
European  Protestants  since  the  first  sessions  of  the  Council  of  Trent 
(1545-1563).  As  commonly  interpreted,  the  decree  on  Scripture 
seemed  to  place  equal  weight  on  written  texts  and  unwritten  tradi- 
tions,    and  Hooker  does  not  use  the  word  "tradition."  The  absence 

See  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  106—108,  above. 
84  Hooker  has  such  views  in  mind  in  II.8.5  and  7  (1:189.11-22  and  191.16-20). 



of  the  word,  however,  does  not  signal  the  absence  of  the  concept. 

Jewel  had  anchored  the  apologetics  of  the  Church  of  England  in  the 
patristic  era,  but,  for  all  of  the  esteem  in  which  Hooker  held  his 
former  patron,  his  own  theological  norms  differed  significantly.  Partly 
due  to  Jewel's  patristic  scholarship  and  partly  to  the  terms  of  Jewel's 
initial  challenge  to  Harding,  their  debate  centered  on  the  first  six 
hundred  years  of  the  Christian  era.  The  patristic  age  loomed  large 
throughout  the  theological  polemics  of  sixteenth-century  Europe,  and 
Jewel  was  in  the  forefront  of  those  who  looked  to  the  "old  catholique 
Byshops  and  fathers"  for  guidance.  When  Hooker  attacked  the  claim 
that  the  apostolic  church  of  the  New  Testament  was  normative  for 
church  polity  for  all  times,  he  asks: 

what  reason  is  there  in  these  thinges  to  urge  the  state  of  one 
onely  age,  as  a  patterne  for  all  to  followe?  . . .  The  faith  zeale  and 
godlines  of  former  times  is  worthylie  had  in  honour:  but  doth 
this  prove  that  the  orders  of  the  Church  of  Christ  must  bee  still 
the  selfe  same  with  theirs,  that  nothing  may  bee  which  was  not 
then;  or  that  nothing  which  then  was  may  lawfully  since  have 
ceased?  (IV.2.3;  278.19-279.2) 

Hooker's  question  strikes  not  only  at  Puritan  convictions,  but  at  the 
implications  of  Jewel's  apologetic  stance  as  well.  Hooker's  patristic 
citations  amply  demonstrate  his  command  of  the  literature  of  the  early 
church,  and  although  his  medieval  citations  were  few,  they  too  con- 
tributed to  his  theological  perspectives.  Tradition  was  subordinate  to 
Scripture  and  reason,  but  it  was  serviceable,  and  it  included  not  six  but 
fifteen  centuries  of  Christian  history. 

v.  Ecclesiology:  Church  and  Polity 

Hooker  does  not  treat  the  issues  of  polity  that  comprised  the  most 
obvious  points  of  friction  with  the  discipinarians  without  carefully  first 
establishing  the  underlying  "grounds."  Epistemology  came  first,  but 

85  See  l:278.19-21.n.  On  Jewel,  see  John  E.  Booty  John  Jewel  (1963),  and  W.  M. 
Southgate,  John  Jewel  and  the  Problem  of  Doctrinal  Authority  (1962);  see  also  W.  P. 
Haugaard,  "Renaissance  Patristic  Scholarship,"  pp.  52-53. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

polity  could  not,  as  he  judged,  be  considered  apart  from  the  larger 
issues  of  the  character  of  the  Christian  community. 

The  Doctrine  of  the  Church 

The  ancient  creeds  had  assigned  four  "marks"  (notae)  to  describe  the 
true  body  of  Christian  believers:  one,  holy,  catholic,  and  apostolic. 
With  these  criteria  firmly  embedded  in  the  creeds  recited  in  the  liturgy 
and  affirmed  in  the  Articles  of  Religion,  the  English  church  also 
specified  in  the  latter  two  additional  marks  prescribed  in  continental 
Lutheran  and  Reformed  confessions:  the  true  church  is  that  "in  which 
the  pure  word  of  God  is  preached,  and  the  Sacramentes  be  duely 
ministred."  Some  theologians,  including  the  Edwardian  bishop 
John  Poynet,  had  included  "discipline"  as  a  third  essential  mark  of  the 
church.      Ignoring  contemporary  formulae,  Hooker  wrote  that  the 

86  Article  19;  see  Hardwicke,  Articles  (1895),  p.  317. 

Although  Calvin  judges  that  discipline  provides  the  sinews  of  the  church 
"through  which  the  members  of  the  body  hold  together,"  he  stops  short  of  naming 
it  a  mark  essential  for  the  very  existence  of  the  church;  see  Institutes,  4.12.1  and  1.9; 
also,  Francois  Wendel,  Calvin  (Paris,  1950),  pp.  228—229.  Martin  Bucer  comes  closer. 
In  his  De  regno  Christi,  composed  in  England  under  Edward,  he  writes  that  God 
"shapes  and  perfects"  those  incorporated  into  "his  holy  Church"  by  "the  ministry  of 
the  word  and  sacraments  .  .  .  and  also  by  the  vigilant  administration  of  his  discipline"; 
see  chap.  5,  Melanchthon  and  Bucer,  ed.  Wilhelm  Pauck,  LCC,  19:225.  Among  the 
authoritative  Reformed  doctrinal  symbols,  the  Scottish  and  Belgic  confessions  alone 
formally  named  discipline  a  third  mark  of  the  church;  see  Philip  Schaff,  The  Creeds  of 
Christendom,  4th  ed.  (New  York,  1919),  3:419  and  462.  In  his  1553  Catechism  (STC 
4807—12),  John  Poynet  added  both  "brotherly  love"  and  "discipline"  to  the  two 
standard  Reformation  marks;  see  The  Two  Liturgies  .  .  .  of  King  Edward  VI,  ed.  Joseph 
Ketley,  PS  (Cambridge,  1854),  pp.  513  and  561.  In  a  catechism  unsuccessfully 
proposed  as  a  confessional  document  at  the  1563  Convocation  and  ordered  by  the 
bishops  in  1571  to  be  used  by  schoolmasters,  Alexander  Nowell  added  "invocation" 
(that  is,  public  prayer)  as  the  third  essential  mark  of  the  church  and  put  discipline  into 
a  secondary  category.  Although  it  was  necessary  for  churches  to  be  "well-ordered," 
he  lamented  that  since  discipline  had  been  "little  and  little  decaying,"  it  could  "hardly 
be  maintained"  in  the  church  of  his  day;  see  A  Catechism  Written  in  Latin,  ed.  G.  E. 
Corrie,  PS  (Cambridge,  1853),  pp.  56  and  175  (STC  18701;  trans.  Thomas  Norton, 
STC  18708). 



visible  Church  is  that  "one  bodie"  whose  children  "are  signed  with  this 
marke,  One  Lord,  one  faith,  one  baptisme"  (III.  1.3  and  7;  1:196.3—7  and 
198.8—9).  Although  compatible  with  both  the  four  ancient  creedal 
and  the  Reformation  criteria,  Hooker's  exposition,  using  these  organiz- 
ing themes  from  Ephesians  4:5,  developed  a  distinctive  ecclesiology  that 
rendered  an  ecumenically  sensitive  theological  account  of  the  divisions 
that  had  sundered  the  western  church  in  the  sixteenth  century. 

At  the  beginning  of  Book  III  Hooker  distinguishes  "that  Church  of 
Christ  which  we  properly  terme  his  body  mysticall"  from  the  "sensi- 
ble knowne  company, . . .  [the]  visible  Church"  (III.  1.2  and  3;  1:194. 
27—28  and  195.26—27).  Augustine  had  used  "mystical  body"  to  identi- 
fy the  living  and  dead  whom  God  had  predestined  to  salvation,  an 
understanding  that  Thomas  had  incorporated  into  his  theology. 
Although  "mystical  body"  was  a  current  term  in  sixteenth-century 
Europe,  English  theologians  increasingly  substituted  "invisible"  for 
"mystical."  Calvin  had  closely  tied  his  doctrine  of  the  church  to  his 
understanding  of  predestination,      and  as   the   decrees   of  election 

Hooker  employs  this  same  triad  along  with  "one  spirite"  in  his  Answer  to 
Travers's  Supplication  as  the  common  "bandes  of  greate  force"  that  link  them  together 
in  the  church  "in  this  corner  of  the  christian  worlde"  (§  26;  5:257.6—11,  this  edn.). 

For  general  discussions  of  Hooker's  doctrine  of  Church,  see  H.  F.  Woodhouse, 
The  Doctrine  of  the  Church  in  Anglican  Theology,  1547-1603  (1954),  pp.  13-74;  Paul  D. 
L.  Avis,  The  Church  in  the  Theology  of  the  Reformers  (Adanta:  John  Knox  Press,  1981), 
pp.  1—94,  and  Anglicanism  and  the  Christian  Church  (Minneapolis:  Fortress,  1989),  pp. 
47-67;  Lake,  Anglicans  and  Puritans?  (1988),  pp.  153-197;  and  Loyer,  2:545-596.  Avis 
and  Lake  emphasize  the  distinctively  new  character  of  Hooker's  teaching. 

For  a  recent  discussion  of  Augustine's  doctrine  of  Church,  see  Jaroslav  Pelikan, 
The  Mystery  of  Continuity:  Time  and  History,  Memory  and  Eternity  in  the  Thought  of  Saint 
Augustine  (Charlottesville:  University  of  Virginia  Press,  1986),  pp.  90-105.  For 
Aquinas's  ecclesiology  in  relation  to  that  of  Augustine,  see  Geddes  MacGregor,  Corpus 
Christi:  The  Nature  of  the  Church  According  to  the  Reformed  Tradition  (Philadelphia: 
Westminster,  1958),  pp.  28-30. 

This  linkage  one  modern  Calvin  scholar  has  judged  to  be  the  serious  method- 
ological error  of  his  ecclesiology;  see  MacGregor,  Corpus  Christi,  p.  48.  "[Ecclesia]  stat 
cum  Dei  electione"  (The  church  stands  by  God's  election),  Institutes,  4.1.3;  Opera 
omnia,  CR  (Brunswick,  1864-),  2:748.  Calvin  speaks  of  the  visible  church,  but, 
although  in  the  Institutes  he  describes  the  body  of  "all  the  elect  from  the  beginning  of 
the  world"  as  "invisible  to  us,"  he  does  not  generally  employ  it,  as  did  later  writers, 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

became  more  central  to  later  Reformed  theology  than  they  had  been 
for  Calvin,  the  term  "invisible  church"  increasingly  suggested  two 
separate  entities  with  a  minimal  relation  between  them,  in  spite  of 
Reformed  teachings  that  emphasized  the  importance  of  the  visible 
church  in  the  process  of  salvation.  Luther  had  applied  the  words 
"invisible"  and  "hidden"  to  the  church,  referring  not  to  the  deity's 
secret  choice  in  eternal  decrees  but  to  the  character  of  the  secret 
operations  of  God's  grace  that  drew  men  and  women  to  salvation. 
Hooker  consistently  prefers  the  earlier  adjective  "mystical"  to  "invisi- 
ble" in  the  Lawes;  once  he  describes  the  church  as  the  "invisible 
spouse,"  but  even  here  he  links  it  with  the  "mysticall  body  of  Christ" 
(III.  11.14;  1:261. 25-26).93 

Nowhere  does  Hooker  suggest  that  the  divine  decrees  of  predesti- 
nation provide  the  foundation  for  a  definition  of  the  mystical  body  or 
an  identification  of  its  members.  Rather,  the  human  "markes  and 
notes  of  distinction"  of  its  members  are  perceived  by  God  who  "seeth 
their  heartes  and  understandeth  all  their  secret  cogitations"  (III.  1.2; 
195.9—12).  For  the  conditions  of  membership,  Hooker  directs  his 
readers  not  to  the  divine  choice  but  to  inner  human  character. 
Whether  the  test  of  that  character  is  understood  as  Thomas's  infused 
virtues  or  as  Luther's  trusting  acceptance  of  God's  love,  in  respect  to 
the  relationship  of  predestination  to  a  doctrine  of  the  church,  Hooker 
stands  closer  to  Aquinas  and  Luther  than  to  Calvin.  Grace,  rather  than 
election,  is  the  foundation  of  his  ecclesiology. 

as  an  identifying  adjective  for  that  body  ("nobis  invisibilem,"  "l'Eglise  invisible  a 
nous"  (4.1.7);  also  "ecclesiam  .  .  .  quasi  in  latebris,"  "Eglise  comme  en  cachette" 
(4.1.2;  CR,  2:753  and  747,  4:575  and  565). 

"invisibilis,"  "absconditus";  MacGregor,  Corpus  Christi,  p.  8n. 

In  Jude  1,  Hooker  had  spoken  of  Christ's  reservation  of  "the  mysticall  adminis- 
tration of  the  church  invisible  unto  himselfe,"  but  even  in  this  earlier  work  he 
described  the  ordained  ministry  as  having  been  entrusted  with  "the  mysticall  govern- 
ment of  congregations  visible"  (§  15;  5:31.15-17,  this  edn.). 

Noted  by  Lake,  Anglicans  and  Puritans?,  p.  161. 

Hooker,  of  course,  stands  closer  to  Luther  than  to  Thomas  on  the  test  of  inner 
character:  the  imputed  justifying  righteousness  of  Christ  is  "in  dignitye  .  .  .  the 
chefeste"  above  the  ingrafted  sanctifying  righteousness  of  the  infused  virtues  so  that 
"we  are  justefied  by  faith  alone  and  yett  .  .  ■  without  good  workes  we  are  not 



Hooker's  retention  of  the  expression  "mystical  body"  signifies  more 
than  a  liking  for  traditional  language.  His  assertion  of  the  headship  of 
Christ,  the  identification  of  the  church  with  pre-Christian  Israel,  the 
division  between  those  on  earth  and  in  heaven,  the  recognition  of 
actuality  and  potentiality  of  church  membership,  and  the  inclusion  in 
the  visible  church  of  those  not  part  of  the  mystical  body  all  reflect  the 
section  on  ecclesiology  of  Thomas's  Summa  theologiae  that  Hooker 
cites.  Hooker  shared  these  concepts,  all  Augustinian  as  well  as 
Thomistic,  with  Lutheran  and  Reformed  theologians,  but  by  explicit 
citation  he  placed  his  ecclesiology  in  the  tradition  of  Thomas.  Greek 
theologians  in  the  early  church  borrowed  the  word  mystical  from  the 
cults  designated  as  "mystery"  religions;  the  word  came  from  the  verb 
"to  initiate  into  the  mysteries."  Joined  to  Paul's  description  of  the 
church  as  "the  body  of  Christ,"  it  described  those  who  had  been  made 
members  of  Christ  by  the  rites  of  initiation.  This  association  with 
baptism  and  the  dual  reference  of  Christ's  body  to  the  Eucharistic 
bread  and  to  the  church  itself  gave  the  phrase  the  sense  of  the  indwell- 
ing of  Christ  in  those  sacramentally  incorporated  into  the  church. 
"Mystical"  in  the  writings  of  Augustine  and  Aquinas  denoted  this 
sacramental  incorporation  into  the  church  as  well  as  the  predestined 
elect.  "Invisible"  denoted  only  the  latter.  Given  Hooker's  mastery  of 
Greek,  it  may  be  assumed  that  he  was  aware  of  the  nuances  of  the 
association  of  "mystical  body"  with  both  Baptism  and  the  Eucha- 
rist. Discussing  the  church  in  prayer,  Hooker  writes  of  the  "visible 
mysticall  bodie"  (V.24.1;  2:111.26).  His  pairing  of  the  two  adjectives 
that  he  usually  uses  to  distinguish  two  overlapping  church  member- 

justefied"  (Just.,  §  21;  5:130.2-11,  this  edn.;  see  also  V.56.10-12;  2:241-244).  For  an 
interpretation  of  Hooker's  doctrine  on  justification  as  one  which  mediates  between 
the  Reformers  and  Trent,  see  Lee  W.  Gibbs,  "Richard  Hooker's  Via  Media  Doctrine 
of  Justification,"  Harvard  Theological  Review  74  (April,  1981):  220.  Hooker  writes  of 
the  relation  of  the  three  infused  theological  virtues  (faith,  hope,  and  love)  to  salvation: 
the  want  of  virtues  such  as  moral  righteousness  and  honesty  of  life  "excludeth  from 
salvation.  So  doth  much  more  the  absence  of  inward  beleefe  of  hart;  so  doth  despaire 
and  lacke  of  hope;  so  emptines  of  Christian  love  and  charitie"  (III. 1.7;  1:198.4—7). 
And  see  Introduction  to  Commentary,  Tractates  and  Sermons,  5:638-641. 

96  See  nn  to  1:194.27-32,  195.28-32,  and  195.32-196.3.e. 

97  Compare  V.77.2  (2:425.14-17),  and  see  Loyer,  2:600. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

ships  does  not  reflect  a  lack  of  logical  rigor,  but  rather  expresses  his 
understanding  of  an  intimate  relationship  between  the  mystical  body 


and  its  visible,  sacramental  manifestation.      Hooker's  preference  for 
"mystical"  over  "invisible"  reflects  that  same  understanding. 

Hooker  introduced  a  new  ecclesiological  perspective  when  he  used 
the  phrases  from  Ephesians  as  the  "marks"  identifying  the  visible  church. 
An  "extremely  comprehensive  definition"  of  church  membership, 
unique  for  the  age,  is  implicit  in  these  marks  as  Hooker  develops  them. 
"One  Lorde"  suggests  the  strongly  Christological  bent  of  Hooker's 
theology,  an  emphasis  he  shares  with  other  sixteenth-century  theologians 
from  Anabaptist  to  Jesuit.  He  approvingly  notes  in  Book  V  that  the 
aposdes  accounted  "them  which  call  upon  the  name  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  to 
be  his  Church"  (V.68.6;  2:349.23-24).  "One  faith"  and  "one  baptisme" 
parallel  the  Reformation  pair,  "word"  and  "sacraments,"  but  Hooker 
puts  them  into  a  context  distinctive  from  that  of  the  continental  confes- 
sions and  the  English  Articles  of  Religion.  He  identifies  "faith"  with  the 
"few  articles  of  Christian  beliefe"  as  the  early  patristic  writers  Irenaeus 
and  Tertullian  had  summarized  them  (see  nn  to  1:197.8-23).  These 
passages  outline  Christian  affirmations  in  a  manner  parallel  to  the  "Apos- 
des' Creed,"  which  subsequendy  had  emerged  as  the  western  baptismal 
creed  that  the  Prayer  Book,  following  monastic  devotional  usage,  or- 
dered to  be  recited  in  various  liturgical  offices.  Hooker  would  have 
assumed  that  this  faith  implied  a  Protestant  doctrine  of  justification  by 
grace  through  faith,  but  he  chose  to  return  to  a  universal  doctrinal 

symbol  of  early  centuries  rather  than  to  a  distinctively  reformed  formu- 

la.        "One  baptisme"  distinctively  emphasizes  both  the  sacramental 

and  the  inclusive  character  of  the  visible  church. 

Compare  his  mention  of  the  "mysticall  government"  of  the  visible  church  cited 
in  n.  93  above  from  Jude  1.  Lake  comments:  "Just  as  the  puritan  insistence  on  the 
need  for  visible  godliness  as  a  sign  of  elect  status  served  to  blur  the  line  between  the 
visible  and  invisible  church,  so  Hooker's  insistence  on  the  need  to  rely  on  the  means 
which  God  has  ordained  to  unite  us  with  him  in  Christ  also  tended  to  conflate  the 
two  levels  of  the  church's  existence"  {Anglicans  and  Puritans?,  p.  180). 

Cargill  Thompson,  S.R.H.,  p.  54;  rpr.  Studies  in  the  Reformation,  p.  178 

100  m  f 

On  Hooker's  doctrine  of  justification,  see  n.  95  above.  That  faith  is  more  than 
intellectual  acceptance  of  doctrine  is  clear  from  his  description,  "inward  beleefe  of 
hart."  Compare  Avis,  The  Church  in  the  Theology  of  the  Reformers,  pp.  68—73. 



The  Church  and  the  Churches 

Hooker's  understanding  of  the  church  allowed  him  to  affirm  its 
inclusive  character  while  simultaneously  criticizing  the  errors  he 
perceived  in  the  divided  church  of  his  own  day.  The  sundered  parts  of 
the  western  church  remained,  collectively,  a  part  of  that  visible  histori- 
cal community,  the  "one  bodie"  that  stretched  back  to  the  apostles,  to 
Christ,  and,  beyond,  ,to  ancient  Israel: 

They  aske  us  where  our  Church  did  lurke,  in  what  cave  of  the 
earth  it  slept  for  so  many  hundreds  of  yeeres  together  before  the 
birth  of  Martin  Luther?  As  if  we  were  of  opinion  that  Luther  did 
erect  a  new  church  of  Christ.  No  the  church  of  Christ  which 
was  from  the  beginning  is  and  continueth  unto  the  end.  Of 
which  Church  all  parts  have  not  been  alwaies  equallie  sincere  and 
sound.  (III.  1.10;  1:201.6-12) 

Hooker  warns  of  the  errors  that  have  arisen  from  the  failure  to  distin- 
guish "betweene  the  visible  sound  and  corrupted,  sometimes  more, 
sometimes  lesse"  (1.9;  199.27—28).  Schism  and  heresy  are  matters  of 
degree.  Only  "Saracens,  Jewes,  and  Infidels,"  who  "denie  directlie  and 
utterlie  reject  the  very  principles  of  Christianity,"  are  absolutely 
excluded  from  the  bounds  of  the  church  (1.7  and  11;  198.12  and 
203.9—10).  When  Cartwright  identifies  Roman  Catholics  with  the 
"heathen"  of  ancient  times,  expressing  greater  fear  of  infection  "from 
Turks  [than]  ^rom  Papists"  Hooker  judges  it  "a  strange  kind  of  speech 
unto  Christian  eares"  (7.6;  297.4—6).  In  Book  V,  defending  the 
admission  to  holy  communion  of  persons  suspected  of  "popery," 
Hooker  reflects  this  same  dual  concern  for  an  inclusive  understanding 
of  the  Church  and  for  distinguishing  true  doctrine  and  practice. 
Within  the  wide  expanse  of  separated  parts  of  the  visible  church, 

albeit  ech  part  doe  justifie  it  selfe,  yeat  the  one  of  necessitie  must 
needes  erre  if  there  be  anie  contradiction  betweene  them,  . . .  and 
what  side  soever  it  be  that  hath  the  truth,  the  same  wee  must  also 
acknowledg  alone  to  hold  with  the  true  Church  in  that  point,  and 
consequently  reject  the  other  as  an  enimie  in  that  case  fallen  awaie 
from  the  true  Church.  (V.68.6;  2:350.29-351.4) 

In  making  these  distinctions,  "in  that  point"  and  "in  that  case"  (the 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

italics  are  in  the  manuscript  that  Hooker  himself  corrected;  see  2:xvii— 
xx),  Hooker  provided  a  means  of  ecclesiological  analysis  which  en- 
abled Christians  to  identify  what  they  believed  to  be  the  "truth"  and 
"error"  held  by  a  particular  church  without  impugning  its  character  as 
part  of  the  church  catholic  whose  grasp  of  other  teachings  and  practic- 
es might  be  positively  affirmed.  Such  an  ecclesiology  is  consistent  with 
the  opening  of  the  Preface  in  which  Hooker  assures  Puritans  who  may 
judge  him  "an  adversarie  against  the  truth"  that  he  "desireth  even  to 
embrace  together  with  you  the  selfe  same  truth,  if  it  be  the  truth"  (Pref.  1.3; 
1:3.2—4).  Such  analyses  of  Christian  disunity  are  commonplace  in 
twentieth-century  ecumenical  discussion;  Hooker's  combination  of 
charitable  openness  and  theological  rigor  is  exceptional  in  the  sixteenth 

The  ecumenical  vision  of  Christian  unity  articulated  at  the  end  of 
Book  IV  might  be  achieved  by  "some  such  consultation,  as  may  tende 
to  the  best  reestablishment  of  the  whole  Church  of  Jesus  Christ." 
Comparing  the  "calme  and  moderate"  course  of  the  English  reformation 
with  "more  extreme  and  rigorous"  trials  of  "certaine  Churches  else- 
where," he  suggests  that  the  Church  of  England  "can  not  but  serve  as 
a  profitable  direction"  for  that  future  reconciliation  (IV.14.6;  1:342.15, 
28—343.3).  Whereas  Jewel  had  located  the  English  church  along  with 
Lutheran  and  Reformed  between  the  extremes  of  Roman  Catholic  and 
Anabaptist,  Hooker,  like  Nicholas  Throckmorton  before  him  and  his 
pupil  Sandys  after  him,  suggests  an  ecumenical  perspective  in  which  the 
Church  of  England  lies  between  Rome  and  unnamed  portions  of  the 
churches  of  the  magisterial  continental  Reformation. 

Discipline  and  Ministry 

Only  in  Book  III  does  Hooker  begin  to  discuss  "ecclesiasticall  politie," 
his  treatise's  announced  topic,  describing  it  as  whatsoever  "belongeth  to 
the  ordering  of  the  Church  in  publique"  (III.  1.14;  1:206.28-29). 
Considering  discipline,  the  ordained  ministry,  and  common  worship  as 

101  See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  3-8,  above;  for  Jewel,  see  Apology  of  the 
Church  of  England,  ed.  John  Booty  (1963),  pp.  24-30. 



its  principal  elements,  he  roots  them  in  ecclesiology  (1 1 1. 1.1  and  14), 
from  the  perspective  of  epistemology  (II. 1.2— 3,  III. 9.1). 

Among  Hooker's  theological  priorities,  "publique  religious  duties" 
and  the  persons  who  minister  them  are  essential  to  God's  outreach  to 
the  world.  To  such  duties  "as  the  administration  of  the  word  and 
sacraments,  prayers,  spirituall  censures,  and  the  like  . . .  the  Church 
standeth  alwayes  bound."  Since  these  functions  require  "a  difference 
of  persons,  . . .  Gods  clergie  are  a  state  which  hath  beene  and  will  be, 
as  long  as  there  is  a  Church  upon  earth,  necessarie  by  the  plaine  word 
of  God  himselfe."  "Lawes  of  politie"  provide  necessary  guidelines  for 
the  "maner"  by  which  discipline,  ministry,  and  worship  are  to  be 
ordered  in  church  life  (III.  11.20;  1:267.18-29).  It  is  in  Books  III  and 
IV  that  Hooker  lays  down  the  general  principles  which  underlie  his 
defense  in  subsequent  books  of  particular  practices  and  structures  of 
the  Church  of  England  that  had  drawn  the  Puritan  accusation  that 
"allmost  whatsoever  wee  doe  in  the  exercise  of  our  religion  . . .  [is] 
stained  with  superstition"  (V.4.1;  2:30.21-24). 

Hooker's  freedom  from  biblical  literalism  in  determining  polity 
must  not  be  interpreted  as  a  carte  blanche  for  churches  to  order  them- 
selves capriciously.  "Whatsoever  in  the  Church  of  God,  if  it  be  not  of 
God,  wee  hate  it"  (207.13-14;  III.2.1).  God's  "verie  lawe  of  nature," 
accessible  to  human  reason,  provides  a  context  within  which  the 
church  interprets  scriptural  law,  drawing  on  the  perceived  order  of 
creation  and  human  experience  in  order  to  determine  what  is  "most 
convenient  and  fit"  in  its  present  circumstances  (III. 2.1  and  9.1; 
207.19  and  236.7).  The  ecclesiological  issues  that  disciplinarians  had 
raised  evoked  an  epistemological  response.  Before  applying  any  scrip- 
tural law  to  the  Elizabethan  church,  one  must  determine  its  purpose  in 
the  biblical  setting  and  assess  the  congruity  of  that  setting  with  six- 
teenth-century England.  Because  an  integral  part  of  the  human  experi- 
ence available  to  churches  is  found  in  the  collective  wisdom  stored  in 
their  traditional  heritage,  Hooker  warns  of  the  dangers  of  unnecessary 
alterations  in  the  "publique  spirituall  affayres"  of  the  Church  (see  pp. 
142-143  and  167,  above). 

Disagreements  over  discipline  and  ministry  were  inextricably  inter- 
twined in  the  disciplinarians'  call  for  a  restructuring  of  ministry.  They 
would  have  a  scriptural  exercise  of  "spirituall  censures"  (III. 11.20; 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

1:267.20—21),  for  only  a  proper  "regiment  of  the  Church"  could 
assure  godly  discipline.  In  the  1593  volume,  Hooker  foreshadows 
arguments  that  were  to  appear  in  Book  VI  by  suggesting  that,  at  best, 
the  disciplinarians  had  shown  that  "some  thinges  which  they  maintaine, 
as  far  as  some  men  can  probably  conjecture,  do  seeme  to  have  bene  out  of 
scripture  not  absurdly  gathered."  He  found  their  conjectures  to  be 
faulty  three  ways:  by  omitting  the  need  for  a  superior  order  of  pastors 
"when  they  grow  to  any  great  multitude,"  by  requiring  offices  men- 
tioned in  Scripture  which  were  not  "of  perpetuall  necessitie,"  and  by 
insisting  on  "Layelders,  which  the  scripture  neither  maketh  immutable 
nor  at  all  teacheth"  (III. 11. 20;  268.30-269.8).  "The  Church  may  not 
. . .  abrogate"  her  exercise  of  excommunication  any  more  than  she 
may  reject  the  "Ceremonies"  of  baptism  and  the  Eucharist,  but  the 
disciplinarians  "overmuch  abridge  the  Church  of  her  power"  to 
determine  the  manner  by  which  church  censures  are  to  be  applied;  the 
disagreement  in  these  matters  is  "how  farre  the  bounds  of  the  Church- 
es libertie  do  reach"  (111.11.13;  259.11-20  and  260.12-15). 

To  the  dismay  of  many  of  its  critics,  the  retention  in  the  English 
church  of  episcopacy  distinguished  the  administrative  structure  of  its 
ministry  from  that  of  Reformed  and  most  Lutheran  churches  of  the 
continent.  In  Book  III  Hooker  is  primarily  concerned  to  counter  the 
claim  that  churches  must  find  in  the  New  Testament  an  unchangeable 
model  for  the  forms  of  ministry.  Although  he  leaves  detailed  discussion 
of  episcopal  polity  for  Book  VII,  in  the  concluding  sections  of  III  he 
suggests  the  direction  of  the  arguments  to  appear  in  VII. 

Since,  "where  the  clergie  are  any  great  multitude,"  order  requires 
"that  by  degrees  they  be  distinguished,"  there  have  "ever  beene  and 
ever  ought  to  be"  at  least  "two  sorts  . . .  the  one  subordinate  unto  the 

102  III.3.2  and  II.7.9;  210.17-18  and  185.16-18;  see  Introduction  to  Book  VI,  pp. 
254-255  and  303-305,  below. 

Norman  Sykes  suggested  that  there  is  "a  difference  at  least  in  emphasis,  if  not 
further,  between  the  earlier  and  later  books";  Old  Priest  and  New  Presbyter  (Cambridge: 
The  University  Press,  1956),  p.  13;  but  compare  Loyer,  pp.  629-630;  W.  P.  Haugaard, 
"Towards  an  Anglican  Doctrine  of  Ministry:  Richard  Hooker  and  the  Elizabethan 
Church,"  Anglican  and  Episcopal  History,  56.3  (1987):  280;  and  Introduction  to  Book 
VII,  pp.  326-334,  below. 



other."  Scripture  and  "all  Ecclesiasticall  records"  plainly  testify  that 
"Apostles  in  the  beginning"  and  "Bishops  alwayes  since"  have  exer- 
cised that  authority  over  "other  ministers  of  the  word  and  sacraments." 
"A  sollemne  admittance"  to  ministerial  charges  (ordination)  is  a 
necessary  corollary.  These  are  "principall  and  perpetuall  parts  in 
Ecclesiasticall  politie,"  to  be  contrasted  with  other  variable  "particular- 
ities" including  "thenlargement  or  abridgement  of  functions  ministeri- 
all."  Accordingly,  the  Bible  contains  things  that  must  be  "for  ever 
permanent"  along  with  much  that  is  "not  alwayes  needfull."  Beyond 
these  required  and  optional  scriptural  precedents,  the  church  will  also 
always  need  that  "which  the  scripture  teacheth  not."  Concluding  this 
section  with  a  summary  judgment  of  the  faults  of  Genevan  applications 
of  New  Testament  polity,  Hooker  expressly  promises  more  in  "the 
bookes  that  followe"  (III.  11. 20;  1:268.6-269.8). 104 

As  strongly  as  Hooker  urges  episcopal  polity  as  a  permanent  element 
wherever  pastors  "grow  to  any  great  multitude,"  he  foreshadows  in 
Book  III  the  observation  in  Book  VII  that  "there  may  be  sometimes 
very  just  and  sufficient  reason  to  allow  Ordination  made  without  a 
Bishop,"  a  judgment  based  not  on  ecumenical  charity  but  on  the 
theological  principle  that  not  episcopacy  but  the  entire  visible  church 
is  "the  true  original  subject  of  all  power"  (14.11;  3:227.3—5).  Hooker 
would  "rather  lament . . .  then  exagitate"  the  "defect  and  imperfection" 
of  Scottish  and  French  Reformed  churches,  which  "have  not  that 
which  best  agreeth  with  the  sacred  scripture,"  government  by  bishops 
(III.  11.16;  1:264.3-11).  At  the  same  time  that  Hooker  establishes  the 
premise  that  Scripture  need  not  contain  an  unalterable  form  of  Church 
polity,  he  lays  the  groundwork  for  maintaining  the  traditional  episco- 
pal polity  of  the  Church  of  England  on  twin  foundations  of  that  very 
Scripture  and  on  natural  law. 

Hooker's  understanding  of  the  ordained  ministry  in  a  Christian 
nation  reflected  continued  adherence  to  the  medieval  political  concept, 
written  into  the  parliamentary  legislation  of  the  English  reformation, 

Although  Book  VII  is  specifically  dedicated  to  episcopacy,  the  final  six  chapters 
of  Book  V  and  much  of  the  lost  sections  of  VI  also  treat  of  the  forms  and  functions 
of  the  ministry;  see  below,  Introductions  to  Book  V,  pp.  186  and  191-192;  to  Book 
VI,  pp.  254-255  and  303-305;  and  to  Book  VII,  pp.  326-337. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

that  ordained  ministers  constituted  a  distinct  "estate"  within  the 
nation.  In  Book  VIII  he  develops  the  principles  by  which  "Eccle- 
siastical! lawe"  may  be  determined  with  "consent  as  well  of  the  laitie 
as  of  the  Clergie"  in  relation  to  the  necessary  consent  of  the  crown 
(VIII.6.7[8];  3:393.8-1 1).105  In  Book  III,  Hooker  describes  "Gods 
clergie"  as  a  "state"  distinguished  from  "the  rest  of  Gods  people" 
(III. 11. 20;  1:267.27—31).  Continental  churches,  in  contrast,  considered 
that  the  Protestant  minister  was,  by  ordination,  appointed  to  "an 
assignment  or  office  ([German:]  amt)"  not  to  a  fundamental  division 
of  the  social  order. 


Just  as  Hooker  suggests  in  Book  III  the  directions  of  the  detailed 
discussion  of  discipline  and  episcopacy  in  Books  VI  and  VII,  so  in 
Books  III  and  IV  he  points  towards  his  treatment  in  Book  V  of 
worship  as  it  is  ordered  in  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer.  Al- 
though "politie  and  regiment"  are  essential  to  order  "the  publique 
spirituall  affayres  of  the  Church  of  God"  in  worship,  these,  like 
matters  of  discipline  and  ministry,  need  not  follow  "anie  one  certayne 
forme"  in  all  churches  (III.1.14,  2.1;  1:206.31,  207.8-10).  In  the  many 
"things  indifferent"  concerning  "particular  ceremonies, ...  it  is  not 
possible  that  the  lawe  of  nature  and  reason  should  direct  all  Churches 
unto  the  same  things"  (IV.  13.8;  332.23-32).  It  is  to  be  expected  that 
the  passage  of  time  will  require  changes  in  worship  and  its  ceremonial: 

Things  so  ordained  are  to  bee  kept,  howbeit  not  necessarily  any 
longer,  then  till  there  growe  some  urgent  cause  to  ordaine  the 
contrary.  For  there  is  not  any  positive  lawe  of  men,  whether  it 
be  generall  or  particular,  received  by  formall  expresse  consent,  as 
in  councels;  or  by  secret  approbation,  as  in  customes, . . .  but  the 

105  See  Introduction  to  Book  VIII,  pp.  361-370,  below. 

106  Wilhelm  Pauck,  "The  Ministry  in  the  Time  of  the  Continental  Reformation," 
in  The  Ministry  in  Historical  Perspective,  ed.  H.  Richard  Niebuhr  and  Daniel  D. 
Williams  (New  York:  Harper,  1956),  p.  143;  see  also  Haugaard,  "Ministry,"  pp.  269— 

107  See  Introduction  to  Book  V,  pp.  183-186  and  223-228,  below. 



same  may  be  taken  away  if  occasion  serve.  (14.5;  340.20-26) 

In  determining  forms  of  worship,  the  church  is  not  further  tied 
"unto  scripture,  then  that  against  scripture  nothing  be  admitted  in  the 
Church,"  a  judgment  consistent  with  that  of  the  Lutheran  churches  of 
the  continent  in  contrast  to  the  Reformed,  who  looked  to  the  Bible 
for  specific  direction  in  matters  of  polity.  Hooker  carefully  distinguish- 
es "substantiall  duties  in  the  exercise  of  religion,"  such  as  sacraments, 
"delivered  from  God  him  self  in  few  wordes,"  from  ceremonies,  the 
"externall  rites,  as  are  usually  annexed  unto  Church-actions."  All 
sixteenth-century  reformers  would  agree  with  Hooker  that  "the 
edification  of  the  Church"  is  the  end  at  which  ceremonies  are  to  aim; 
they  would  not,  however,  all  accept  his  contention  that,  in  addition  to 
speech,  "sundry  sensible  meanes  besids"  have  their  rightful  place  in 
worship  (III.3.3  and  IV.  1.3;  211.20-31  and  273.20-274.5).  With  their 
intensely  cerebral  forms  of  worship,  Reformed  churches  tended  to 
judge  that  the  ear  was  the  exclusive  gate  to  human  minds  and 
hearts.  Lutheran  rites  preserved  traditional  order  in  worship  be- 
cause of  "an  instinctive  sense  that  [their]  dignity  and  solemnity  were 
a  safeguard  of  the  reverence  due  to  the  holy."  Luther  himself 
wrote  that  he  was  not 

of  the  opinion  that  the  gospel  should  destroy  and  blight  all  the 
arts,  as  some  of  the  pseudo-religious  claim.  But  I  would  like  to 
see  all  the  arts,  especially  music,  used  in  the  service  of  Him  who 
gave  and  made  them. 

Hooker  bases  his  defense  of  ceremonies  of  the  English  church  on 
principles  similarly  rooted  in  the  created  order  of  human  society. 
Words  alone  are  "for  the  most  parte  but  sleightlye  heard,"  but  the 

108  See  Hughes  Oliphant  Old,  The  Patristic  Roots  of  Reformed  Worship  (Zurich: 
Theologischer  Verlag  Zurich,  1975),  part  I;  James  Hastings  Nichols,  Corporate  Worship 
in  the  Reformed  Tradition  (Philadelphia:  Westminster,  1968),  chaps.  1—4;  and  texts  and 
introductions  in  Bard  Thompson,  ed.,  Liturgies  of  the  Western  Church  (Cleveland: 
Meridian  Books,  1961),  pp.  147-208. 

Yngve  Brilioth,  Evangelical  Faith  and  Practice:  Evangelical  and  Catholic  (London: 
S.P.C.K.,  1930),  p.  141. 

110  D.  Martin  Luthers  Werke,  35:475;  Luther's  Works,  53:316. 


Books  II,  III  &  IV 

distinguishing  strangeness  of  "some  visible  solemnitie  . . .  doth  cause 
popular  eyes  to  observe  and  to  marke  the  same."  The  eye,  not  the  ear, 
is  "the  liveliest  and  the  most  apprehensive"  of  the  senses.  Ceremonies 
of  the  Christian  church  reflect  a  God-given  "ground  of  reason"  in 
nature  exemplified  both  in  religion,  Jewish  or  pagan,  and  in  civil  life, 
"for  in  both  they  have  their  necessary  use  and  force"  (IV.  1.3;  1:274.6— 
7,  14—22,  and  275.21).  Historical  perspective  provides  a  context  for 
determining  appropriate  ceremonial  action.  Asking  what  reason  de- 
mands that  "the  state  of  one  onely  age"  become  "a  patteme  for  all  to 
followe,"  Hooker  concludes  that  church  orders  "framed  sutable  to  the 
greatnes  and  dignitie"  of  later  times  may  be  as  acceptable  to  God  as 
"the  reverend  simplicity  of  auncienter"  ages  (IV.2.3  and  4;  278.19—21 
and  279.30-33).  Implicitly  recognizing  that  geography  as  well  as  the 
passage  of  time  may  mark  distinctive  cultural  contexts  of  worship, 
Hooker  acknowledges  that  ceremonies  in  other  churches  may  quite 
appropriately  differ  from  those  of  the  English  church.  Disputing  the 
demand  that  English  ceremonies  conform  to  those  of  other  Reformed 
churches,  he  half  jests  that  if 

our  owne  be  but  equall,  the  law  of  common  indulgence  alloweth 
us  to  thinke  them  at  the  least  halfe  a  thought  the  better  because 
they  are  our  owne;  which  we  may  very  well  do  and  never  drawe 
any  inditement  at  all  against  theirs,  but  thinke  commendably 
even  of  them  also.  (IV.  13. 10;  1:336.2-7) 

Like  most  of  his  contemporaries,  Hooker  assumed  that  social  stability 
required  any  particular  society  to  conform  to  an  agreed  pattern  of 
worship,  but  he  willingly  embraces  diversity  in  the  larger  European 
arena,  citing  Gregory  the  Great,  Augustine,  and  Calvin  as  authorities 
who  also  welcomed  differences  of  custom  and  ceremony  as  appropriate 
(IV.13.3;  329.13-27). 

First  principles  having  been  established  in  the  first  four  books,  Hooker 
may  "in  the  next  booke  have  occasion  more  throughlie  to  sift"  those 
ceremonies  that  Puritans  "pretend  to  be  so  scandalous"  (IV.  12.8;  325.29— 
30).  His  account  of  the  "generall  grounds  and  foundations,"  of  the  Puritans 
and  of  their  "generall  accusations  against  us"  completed,  he  will  logically 
proceed  to  "the  specialities  of  that  cause  which  lyeth  in  controuersie"  as  he  had 
announced  he  would  do  in  his  Preface  (7.5,  6;  1:35.18—19,  28). 




Dialog  toes  contra  quasim  Hxrefis . 
Centra  Hxreticos  Wer  in  fo  illorim 
mgts,et  jaW«  fl<OT<»f  CT  r«fcrg»fc  ♦ 
Ditdnorum  iognatum  qitomt* 



Apottatn ,  ««»  Pri«%»  ^  Dcawwwu  Aww 
M  D  X  L  V  II  ♦  Utnjc lanmrio* 

\,  f  ~;  Qvk  *v&  Pf  ovo/wow"  ;<*      J 

2.  Title  page  of  the  edition  of  Theodoret  of  Cyrrhus's  fifth-century  epitome  of 
patristic  ordiodoxy,  Dialogi  tres,  cited  by  Hooker  in  die  Christological  chapters  of 
Book  V  of  the  Lawes. 

Book  V 

John  E.  Booty 

i.  Design  and  Purpose 

When  the  first  four  books  of  the  Lawes  were  published  in  1593, 
Hooker  announced  that  the  last  four  concerned  "the  specialities  of  that 
cause  which  lyeth  in  controversie"  and  that  Book  V  "examineth  the  causes 
by  you  alleaged,  wherefore  the  publique  duties  of  Christian  religion,  as  our 
prayers  our  Sacraments  and  the  rest,  should  not  be  ordered  in  such  sort  as  with 
us  they  are"  (Pref.  7.6;  1:35.28—31).  The  table  at  the  end  of  the  Preface 
of  "things  .  .  .  handled  in  the  Bookes  following"  gives  another  description: 
"The  fift,  of  our  lawes  that  concerne  the  publike  religious  duties  of 
the  Church,  and  the  maner  of  bestowing  that  power  of  order  which 
inableth  men  in  sundrie  degrees  and  callings  to  execute  the  same" 
(1:54.12—14).  This  statement  makes  no  direct  reference  to  the  polemi- 
cal purpose  of  the  book,  defines  "publique  duties  of  Christian  religion"  as 
"publike  religious  duties,"  and  makes  specific  reference  to  the  ministry 
and  "that  power  of  order"  necessary  for  their  performance  in  the  church. 
The  head-title  to  the  book  supplies  a  third  description,  specifically 
referring  to  the  Puritans: 

Of  theire  fourth  assertion,  That  touchinge  the  seuerall  publique  duties 
of  Christian  religion,  there  is  amongst  us  much  superstition  reteined  in 
them;  and  concerning  persons  which  for  performance  of  those  duties  are 
indued  with  the  power  of  Ecclesiasticall  order,  our  lawes  and  proceedinges 
accordinge  thereunto  are  many  wayes  herein  also  corrupt.  (2:15) 

How  are  we  to  understand  these  three  descriptions? 

Book  V  as  a  Defense  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer 

The  most  straightforward  interpretation  of  Book  V  is  to  view  it  as 
a  defense  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  against  the  objections  of 



the  Puritans  who  contended  that  it  was  full  of  superstitious  practices, 
"an  unperfecte  booke,  culled  and  picked  out  of  that  popishe  dunghil, 
the  Masse  booke."  The  title  of  Book  V  clearly  indicates  such  a 
polemical  purpose.  The  "theire"  refers  to  the  Admonitioners  and 
those  whose  cause  they  represent,  the  "publique  duties  of  Christian 
religion'  refers  to  the  Prayer  Book  in  relation  to  the  chief  Puritan 
objections,  and  a  "corrupt"  ministry  refers  to  those  charged  with 
responsibility  for  the  conduct  of  public  duties  (worship)  according  to 
the  Prayer  Book  established  by  law. 

The  first  Admonition,  to  which  Thomas  Cartwright  and  other 
Puritan  spokesmen  refer  in  their  attacks  on  "superstitious  practices," 
opens:  "Seeing  that  nothyng  in  this  mortal  life  is  more  diligently  soght 
for,  and  carefully  to  be  loked  unto  than  the  restitution  of  true  religion 
and  reformation  of  Gods  church: . . .";  Book  V's  first  two  chapters 
treat  the  same  subject.  The  Admonition  attacks  the  Book  of  Common 
Prayer  and  the  ministry  responsible  for  its  use,  comparing  the  practices 
of  the  Prayer  Book  unfavorably  to  those  of  the  early  church.  Book  V 
deals  with  their  chief  objections,  acknowledging  obvious  clerical  faults 
without  admitting  the  Admonitioners'  main  conclusion,  that  the 
ministry  is  so  corrupt  that  it  must  be  radically  reformed,  if  not  dis- 

The  second  part  of  the  first  Admonition,  called  "A  view  of  Popishe 
abuses  yet  remaining  in  the  Englishe  Church,"  attacks  the  Book  of 
Common  Prayer  for  its  neglect  of  preaching  and  its  abuses  affecting 
the  Lord's  Supper  and  the  daily  offices.  Baptism,  Matrimony,  Burial  of 
the  Dead,  Churching  of  Women,  and  the  Ordinal,  referred  to  as  the 
"pontificall  (which  is  annexed  to  the  boke  of  common  prayer  .  . .)," 

An  Admonition  to  the  Parliament,  rpr.  P.M.,  p.  21;  see  n.  152,  pp.  71-72,  above. 
2  P.M.,  p.  8. 

Concerning  the  general  distress  over  the  ignorant  as  well  as  the  corrupt  clergy, 
see  John  E.  Booty,  "The  Bishop  Confronts  the  Queen:  John  Jewel  and  the  Failure  of 
the  English  Reformation,"  in  Continuity  and  Discontinuity  in  Church  History:  Essays 
Presented  to  George  Hunston  Williams,  ed.  F.  Forrester  Church  and  Timothy  George 
(Leiden:  E.J.  Brill,  1979),  pp.  215-231. 


Book  V 

are  singled  out  for  special  attention.  Hooker  defends  them  all  against 
the  Puritan  accusations  of  superstition  and  corruption.  Arthur  S. 
McGrade  has  been  puzzled  by  the  emphasis  on  the  sacraments  in  the 
Lawes,  as  Hooker  "was  not  on  the  whole  a  highchurchman,"  but 
there  is  a  similar  emphasis  in  the  Admonition.  Because  of  the  likeness 
of  the  Eucharist  to  the  Roman  Mass,  it  was  the  Holy  Communion 
that  seemed  most  superstitious.  Hooker  was  of  necessity  bound  to 
focus  his  attention  on  it  and  the  other  sacraments  as  well.  And,  al- 
though the  Ordinal  was  not  printed  with  the  1559  Prayer  Book,  it 
was  treated  by  the  Puritans  as  "annexed." 

In  Book  V  Hooker  treats  virtually  every  part  of  the  Book  of  Com- 
mon Prayer.  The  1559  Prayer  Book  opens  with  the  Act  of  Uniformity 
representing  the  state's  enforcement  of  public  religious  duties;  Hook- 
er's first  chapter  is  headed:  "True  Religion  is  the  roote  of  all  true  virtues 
and  the  stay  of  all  well  ordered  common-wealthes"  (2:16.1—2).  The  Prayer 
Book  Preface  concerns  avoiding  superstition;  Hooker  emphasizes  the 
same  avoidance  (chaps.  3—4;  also,  chaps.  25—27).  The  essay  "Of 
Ceremonies"  stands  behind  Hooker's  presentation  of  four  general 
propositions  (chaps.  6—10;  compare  Book  IV).  The  Prayer  Book 
tables,  lectionary,  and  almanac  provide  for  the  observance  of  liturgical 
time,  feasts,  and  fasts;  Hooker  treats  these  after  his  discussion  of  the 
sacraments  (chaps.  69—72).  The  first  rubric  of  Morning  Prayer  specifies 
the  place  where  worship  shall  be  conducted;  Hooker  deals  with 
liturgical  space  in  chapters  11-17.  The  second  rubric  of  Morning 
Prayer  is  the  famous — to  the  Puritans  infamous — "Ornaments  Rubric" 
governing  what  vestments  should  be  worn;  Hooker  deals  with  clerical 
attire  and  gesture  in  chapters  29-30.  The  forms  of  prayer,  lessons, 

4  P.M.,  pp.  20-34. 

An  Abridged  Edition,  p.  26. 

See  McGrade,  "The  Public  and  the  Religious  in  Hooker's  Polity"  Church 
History,  37.4  (December  1968):  408.  In  n.  11  McGrade  points  out  that  "although  the 
ordinal  came  at  the  end  of  the  1552  Prayer  Book,  it  was  not  included  in  the  1559 
version  .  . .  but  was  published  independently." 

See  The  Book  of  Common  Prayer,  1559:  The  Elizabethan  Prayer  Book,  ed.  John  E. 
Booty  (1976);  hereafter,  B.C. P.,  1559. 



psalms,  and  canticles  of  Morning  and  Evening  Prayer  Hooker  treats  in 
chapters  31—40  and  42-49.  The  Litany  follows  the  Offices  in  the  1559 
Book;  in  chapter  41  Hooker  treats  it  in  relation  to  the  Offices.  The 
Collects,  Epistles,  and  Gospels  of  the  church  year,  which  follow  the 
Litany  in  the  1559  Book,  Hooker  treats  in  chapters  33  and  69—72. 
The  sacraments  come  next  in  the  Prayer  Book  and  also  in  Book  V 
(chaps.  50—68).  Baptism  follows  Holy  Communion  in  the  Book  of 
Common  Prayer,  but  Hooker  places  the  sacrament  of  entrance  into 
the  Christian  life  logically  before  the  sacrament  that  sustains  that  life. 
Confirmation,  traditionally  located  in  the  pontifical  as  the  bishop's 
office,  follows  Baptism  in  the  Prayer  Book;  Hooker  treats  it  in  its 
most  logical  place,  between  Baptism  and  Holy  Communion  (chap.  66; 
see  chap.  18  on  the  Catechism).  Matrimony  follows  Confirmation  in 
the  Prayer  Book;  Hooker  treats  it  briefly  (chap.  73),  following  his 
discussion  of  liturgical  time.  Visitation  and  Communion  of  the  Sick 
Hooker  addresses  only  incidentally  (chap.  68.11—12).  In  the  Prayer 
Book  "The  Thanksgiving  of  Women  after  Childbirth"  follows  Burial; 
Hooker  more  reasonably  puts  it  before  Burial  (chaps.  74—75).  Com- 
mination  concludes  the  Prayer  Book,  but  Hooker  makes  only  a 
fleeting  reference  to  it  (chap.  72.14).  Hooker's  final  section,  concern- 
ing the  ministry  and  "the  power  of Ecclesiasticall  order"  (2:15.10),  corre- 
sponds to  the  Ordinal,  "annexed"  to  the  Prayer  Book. 

Book  V  as  Part  of  the  Lawes 

While  Book  V  is  an  exhaustive  defense  of  the  Book  of  Common 
Prayer,  it  is  quite  clearly  more  than  that.  In  arguing  the  coherence  of 
Hooker's  Lawes,  McGrade  saw  Books  I-IV  as  establishing  fundamental 
philosophical  and  theological  principles  for  discussing  the  conflicting 
demands  for  obedience  and  reform  made  upon  one  another  by  the 
established  church  and  the  dissidents  within  it.  Book  V  concerns 
"what"  is  enjoined  in  the  Church  of  England,  concentrating  on  its 
public  ritual  in  accord  with  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer,  while 

8  The  Litany  followed  the  Offices  in  the  1552  Book  as  well,  but  in  the  1549 
version  it  followed  the  Holy  Communion.  See  The  First  and  Second  Prayer  Books  of 
King  Edward  the  Sixth  (London,  1910;  rpr.  1949),  pp.  231,  361. 


Book  V 

Books  VI— VIII  partly  concern  "how"  these  public  duties  are  to  be 
performed  (that  is,  by  episcopal  and  royal  authority).  The  intention 
is  first  to  prove  to  the  objectors  that  the  public  duties  prescribed  by 
law  are  acceptable  on  their  merits.  This  is  done,  however,  not  only  by 
demonstrating  the  compatibility  of  these  duties  with  necessary  first 
principles  but  also  by  showing  their  especially  apt  way  of  presenting 
Christianity  in  "the  ordinary  world  of  common  experience,  times  and 
places,  ordinary  language  and  common  values."  Book  V,  then,  oper- 
ates on  the  level  of  concrete  and  customary  practices,  in  contrast  to 
the  intellectual  emphases  of  Books  I— IV  and  the  legal  concerns  of 
Books  VI— VIII.  The  advantage  of  McGrade's  interpretation  is  that, 
without  divorcing  the  book  from  its  polemical  context  or  from  Hook- 
er's own  statements  of  intention,  it  ascribes  unified,  broad,  and  sys- 
tematic significance  to  it.  Thus  Hooker's  aim  was  not  merely  to  ward 
off  whatever  particular  objections  might  be  in  the  air  against  the  pre- 
scribed practices  but  to  provide  a  positive  exposition  of  those  practices 
by  showing  that  in  the  forms  of  the  Prayer  Book  "True  Religion" 
could  indeed  be  the  "roote  of  all  true  virtues  and  the  stay  of  all  well  ordered 
commonwealthes"  (1.1;  2:16.1-2). 

The  Question  of  Revision 

The  constructive  character  of  Hooker's  argument  in  Book  V  may 
be  easier  to  appreciate  if  we  take  into  account  that  the  book  was 
originally  planned  to  be  shorter  and  less  occupied  with  detailed 
polemics.  Years  ago  Hardin  Craig  suggested  that  the  last  four  books 
of  the  Lawes  were  revised  under  the  impact  of  criticism  of  them  in  the 
form  they  had  attained  in  1592-1593.  W.  Speed  Hill  has  argued  that 
the  pressure  was  applied  to  get  Hooker  to  prepare  a  more  complete, 

"The  Public  and  the  Religious  in  Hooker's  Polity"  p.  419.  Elsewhere  McGrade 
has  said:  "In  Book  V  .  .  .  Hooker  canvassed  from  a  devotional  viewpoint  the  main 
dimensions  of  existence:  space  and  time,  knowledge  and  desire,  and  the  immediate 
presence  of  God.  In  each  case  he  emphasized  the  aspects  of  Anglican  practice  that  tied 
it  in  with  the  conditions  and  rhythms  of  common  life"  {An  Abridged  Edition,  p.  26). 

"The  Public  and  the  Religious  in  Hooker's  Polity"  pp.  410,  416. 

See  the  discussion  of  the  Lawes"  composition,  pp.  37—51,  above. 



detailed,  and  concretely  polemical  defense  of  the  Prayer  Book  and  its 
ceremonies  against  the  objections  of  the  Puritans.  Thus,  by  the 
time  of  its  publication  in  1597  Book  V  had  grown  to  be  seven  times 
the  average  length  of  the  first  four  books.  Most  likely  it  was  Edwin 
Sandys,  son  of  the  archbishop  of  York,  George  Cranmer,  grand- 
nephew  of  the  late  archbishop  of  Canterbury,  and  possibly  John 
Whitgift,  archbishop  of  Canterbury,  who  so  criticized  Book  V  and 
prompted  its  expansion.  There  is  a  hint  of  as  much  in  Cranmer's 
Concerning  the  New  Church  Discipline,  an  Excellent  Letter  to  Hooker, 
traditionally  dated  1598  (after  the  publication  of  Book  V)  but  now 
dated  as  before  the  publication  of  the  Preface  and  Books  I— IV  in  early 
1593  (see  p.  44,  n.  92,  above).  Cranmer's  desire  that  Hooker  pay 
attention  to  the  dangers  posed  by  "the  cursed  crew  of  Atheists" 
suggests  that  Hooker  accordingly  either  added  chapter  2  to  Book  V  or 
expanded  it.  Cranmer  also  urged  that  Hooker  deal  forthrightly  with 
the  Brownists  or  Barrowists,  and  Hooker  seems  to  have  added  cita- 
tions from  Henry  Barrow  as  a  consequence  (see,  for  example,  chap. 
12.1).  The  reference  to  Hacket  and  his  "conspiracy"  may  have  also 
been  in  response  to  Cranmer's  reference  to  "Certain  Prophets," 
meaning  Hacket,  Coppinger,  and  Arthington. 

If  we  assume  that  in  the  initial  draft  Hooker  felt  a  general  critique 
of  the  Puritans'  objections  to  be  sufficient  without  delving  into  great 
detail  in  defense  of  liturgical  practices  and  church  customs,  then  by 
discerning  the  difference  of  style  and  content  through  the  book,  we 
may  suggest  that  in  its  first  form  Book  V  consisted  of  something  like 
the  following  portions  of  the  1597  edition: 

12  For  references  to  Craig  and  Hill,  see  p.  43,  n.  88,  above,  and  see  2:xiii,  this 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  43  flf.,  above. 

14  See  §  6,  in  1:36. 15-53. 15.n,  below.  Cranmer's  letter  was  first  printed  at  Oxford 
in  1642  (Wing  C-6826);  Walton  reprinted  it  in  his  1665  Life  of  Hooker,  as  did  Keble 

On  these  groups,  see  pp.  26  and  35—36,  above. 

16  See  §  3;  compare  V.Ded.6  (2:4.2-30).  For  Hacket,  see  p.  30,  above;  also, 
Booty,  "Tumult  in  Cheapside:  The  Hacket  Conspiracy,"  Historical  Magazine  of  the 
Protestant  Episcopal  Church,  42.3  (Sept.  1973):  293-317. 

Book  V 


Pages  in 

Pages  in 


in  Bk.  V 

this  edn. 

1597  edn. 












Prayer,  Public 













This  amounts  to  roughly  seventy  folio  pages  in  the  1597  edition  as 
compared  to  forty-eight  in  Book  I  and  twenty-seven  in  Book  III  in 
1593,  but  we  may  assume  that  these  chapters  were  re -written  and  that 
chapter  2  was  added,  or  at  least  expanded,  in  response  to  Cranmer's 
criticism.  But  Hooker  was  not  rigidly  allotting  space  to  his  various 
books.  If  we  compare  forty-eight  pages  for  Book  I  and  twenty-seven 
for  Book  III  in  the  1593  folio  and  allow  a  like  proportion  between 
Books  I  and  V,  the  latter  could  have  run  about  seventy  pages  in  its 
original  form. 

There  is  a  possible  problem  concerning  chapters  38  and  69—72, 
which  contain  essays  written  in  the  mode  of  much  of  our  hypothetical 
first  form.  I  would  suggest  that  they  were  not  in  the  original  because 
on  the  whole  they  concern  specifics  such  as  we  have  excluded.  The 
subject  matter  prompted  Hooker  to  write  abstractly,  laying  a  founda- 
tion for  his  more  detailed  considerations.  Chapter  38,  concerning 
music,  was  inserted  in  relation  to  the  psalms  of  Morning  Prayer,  and 
chapters  69—72  may  have  been  inserted  in  relation  to  Holy  Commun- 
ion because  the  feasts  of  the  church  involve  its  celebration. 

If  we  take  the  twenty-seven  chapters  listed  in  the  chart  above 
(exactly  one-third  of  the  eighty-one  published  in  1597)  and  seek  for 
their  design  and  intent,  we  find  hinges  or  pivots  in  two  places.  Chap- 
ter 50  begins  with  a  transitional  sentence:  "Instruction  and  prayer 
whereof  wee  have  hitherto  spoken  are  duties  which  serve  as  elementes 
partes  or  principles  to  the  rest  that  followe,  in  which  number  the 
Sacramentes  of  the  Church  are  cheife"  (2:207.10—12).  The  chapters 



preceding  50  are  concerned  with  instruction  (preaching)  and  prayer 
(private,  but  chiefly  public)  as  found  in  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer. 
Chapter  23,  "Of  Prayer"  is  another  hinge,  joining  chapters  on  preaching 
and  prayer.  Very  short  (Keble  viewed  it  as  one  section),  it  begins: 

Betwene  the  throne  of  God  in  heaven  and  his  Church  upon 
earth  here  militant  if  it  be  so  that  Angels  have  theire  continuall 
intercorse,  where  should  we  finde  the  same  more  verified  then  in 
these  two  ghostlie  exercises,  the  one  'Doctrine',  the  other  'Prayer'? 
For  what  is  thassemblinge  of  the  Church  to  learne,  but  the 
receivinge  of  Angels  descended  from  above?  What  to  pray,  but 
the  sendinge  of  Angels  upward?  His  heavenly  inspirations  and  our 
holie  desires  are  as  so  many  Angels  of  entercorse  and  comerce 
betwene  God  and  us.  (2:110.7-14) 

Chapter  18,  which  begins  Hooker's  discussion  of  preaching  (and 
catechizing  as  a  kind  of  preaching),  refers  to  the  "commerce  to  be  had 
betwene  God  and  us"  (2:65.7—8)  and  discusses  preaching  broadly  as 
public  instruction  and  transmission  of  knowledge.  In  chapter  18 
Hooker  limits  himself  to  catechizing,  but  we  know  that  he  also  had  in 
mind  the  reading  of  Scripture  and  formal  preaching  in  and  of  itself. 
The  chapter  may  very  well  have  been  longer  in  the  hypothesized 
original  version,  or  the  discussion  may  have  reached  to  more  than  one 

The  reference  to  "commerce  to  be  had  betwene  God  and  us" 
occurs  in  a  sentence  that  begins:  "Places  of  publique  resorte  beinge 
thus  provided  for,  our  repaire  thether  is  especiallie  for  mutuall  confer- 
ence and  as  it  were  commerce  ..."  (18.1;  2:65.6—7).  This  refers  back 
to  the  heading  for  chapter  11  on  "Places  for  the  publique  service  of  God" 
(2:47.12).  Chapter  10  ends:  "And  so  from  rules  of  generall  direction 
it  resteth  that  now  we  descend  to  a  more  distinct  explication  of  par- 
ticulars wherein  those  rules  have  theire  speciall  efficacie"  (2:47.9—11). 

The  structure  now  emerges  more  clearly.  The  discussion  of  public 
religious  duties  begins  with  an  introduction  establishing  "rules  of 
generall  direction."  We  then  move  to  particulars,  to  the  place  of 
worship,  to  the  commerce  there  between  God  and  us  (preaching  and 
prayer),  and  then  to  the  sacraments,  which  follow  from  preaching  and 
prayer,  both  being  inherent  in  the  sacraments,  while  the  sacraments 
provide  another  setting  for  saving  commerce.  Sacraments  go  beyond 


Book  V 

commerce,  however,  to  participation,  being  instruments  for  the  union 
of  the  soul  with  God.  What  becomes  apparent  is  that  Hooker  has  been 
building  all  along  toward  the  most  substantial  portion  of  the  book. 
Through  an  exposition  of  the  Word  in  doctrine  with  the  response  of 
prayer,  he  has  prepared  the  way  for  his  presentation  of  the  sacraments. 
Chapter  50,  which  begins  Hooker's  discussion  of  the  sacraments  by 
pointing  back  to  his  treatment  of  the  Word,  also  points  forward  to  the 
concluding  portion  of  Book  V  on  the  ministry.  Thus,  after  the  first 
sentence,  cited  above  as  transitional,  Hooker  continues: 

The  Church  is  to  us  that  verie  mother  of  our  new  birth  in  whose 
bowels  wee  are  all  bredd,  at  whose  brestes  wee  receyve  nour- 
ishment. As  many  therefore  as  are  apparentlie  to  our  judgment 
born  of  God,  they  have  the  seede  of  theire  regeneration  by  the 
ministerie  of  the  Church,  which  useth  to  that  ende  and  purpose 
not  only  the  word  but  the  sacramentes,  both  havinge  generative 
force  and  vertue.  (2:207.13-19) 

Hooker's  discussion  of  the  ministry  in  chapter  76  is  entitled,  "Of  the 
nature  of  that  ministerie  which  serveth  for  performance  of  divine  duties  in  the 
Church  of  God,  and  how  happines  not  eternall  only  but  also  temporall  doth 
depend  upon  it"  (2:413.20-23).  Referring  back  to  chapter  1.2-4, 
Hooker  reiterates  the  basic  contention  of  his  introductory  chapters,  as 
he  puts  it  in  chapter  76,  that  "everie  mans  religion  is  in  him  the  well- 
spring  of  all  other  sound  and  sincere  vertues"  (2:414.6—7).  He  is 
convinced  "that  without  the  worke  of  the  ministerie  religion  by  no 
meanes  can  possiblie  continewe"  (2:414.22—23;  and  see  423.12—14). 
Hooker  then  proceeds  to  justify  the  power  and  authority  of  the 
ordained  ministry  and  to  contend  that  it  comes  from  God,  not  men: 
"Whether  wee  preach,  pray,  baptise,  communicate,  condemne,  give 
absolution,  or  whatsoever,  as  disposers  of  Gods  misteries,  our  wordes, 
judgmentes,  actes  and  deedes,  are  not  oures  but  the  holie  Ghostes" 
(77.8;  2:430.19-22). 

Writing  to  defend  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  against  its  objec- 
tors, Hooker  constructs  a  tightly  reasoned  argument  whose  thesis  is 
that  religion  is  necessary  to  the  well-being  of  a  commonwealth.  The 
virtues  that  provide  such  well-being  are  dependent  upon  the  perform- 
ance of  public  religious  duties.  Such  duties  involve  that  participation 
in  Christ,  or  union  of  the  soul  with  God,  the  fruit  of  the  commerce 



between  God  and  His  people.  Such  commerce  consists  in  God-given 
doctrine  (instruction  and  preaching)  and  the  human  response  in  prayer, 
resulting  in  a  Christian  life  begun  and  sustained  by  grace  received  in 
and  through  the  sacraments.  Since  such  public  duties  are  necessary  for 
the  good  of  the  commonwealth,  the  ordained  ministry  God  has 
authorized  and  empowered  to  administer  them  is  likewise  necessary  to 
the  well-being  of  the  commonwealth. 

What  does  all  this  have  to  do  with  the  defense  of  the  Book  of 
Common  Prayer,  whose  use  within  the  church  was  the  law  of  the 
land  and  which  the  Puritans  proposed  to  replace?  One  can  imagine 
Sandys,  Cranmer,  and  Whitgift  asking  just  such  a  question.  At  the  end 
of  chapter  4,  before  discussing  "rules  of  generall  direction"  (10.2; 
2:47.9)  as  contained  in  "Fower  generall  propositions"  (chap.  5,  title), 
Hooker  says  that  both  those  defending  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer 
and  those  attacking  it  wish  "to  have  lawes  and  ordinances  such,  as 
maie  rightlie  serve  to  abolish  superstition  and  to  establish  the  service  of 
God  with  all  thinges  thereunto  appertaininge  in  some  perfect  forme" 
(4.3;  2:31.4—7).  Both  sides  acknowledge  the  necessity  of  religion  to  the 
commonwealth,  and  both  agree  on  the  necessity  of  an  "inward  rea- 
sonable" worship  of  God.  They  disagree  over  the  "sollemne  outward 
serviceable  worship,"  which  is  "whatsoever  belongeth  to  the  Church 
or  publique  societie  of  God  by  way  of  externall  adoration"  (2:31.7— 
13).  But  even  there,  insofar  as  "preceptes  divine"  are  involved,  they 
do  not  disagree.  Their  quarrel  concerns  "thinges  of  inferior  regard," 
imposed  "by  ordinances  as  well  humane  as  divine."  Hooker  con- 

the  crime  now  intended  against  us  is  that  our  lawes  have  not 
ordered  those  inferior  thinges  as  behoveth,  and  that  our  customes 
are  either  superstitious  or  otherwise  amisse,  whether  wee  respect 
the  exercise  of  publique  duties  in  religion  or  the  functions  of 
persons  authorised  thereunto.  (2:31.15—23) 

Hooker  then  proceeds  to  set  forth  the  Puritan  rules:  that  in  outward 
things  of  worship  the  practice  of  the  Church  of  Rome  should  be 
avoided,  that  all  should  conform  to  the  practice  of  the  earliest  church, 
and  that  nothing  "devised  or  abused  unto  superstition"  should  be  used  (5.1; 
2:32.5-10).  Over  against  these,  Hooker  sets  his  own:  reasonableness, 


Book  V 

antiquity,  church  authority,  and  dispensation  (equity).  Hooker  is 
convinced  that  if  such  rules  are  taken  seriously,  as  they  are  in  the 
Preface  to  the  Prayer  Book  and  in  the  essay  "Of  Ceremonies"  and 
thus  in  the  rest,  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  will  be  justified  without 
the  need  for  any  alterations.  It  is  not  necessary  to  enter  into  a  multi- 
tude of  specific  objections  as  set  forth  in  the  Admonition  and  in  Cart- 
wright's  defense  of  it.  It  is  preferable  to  stand  back  and  regard  the 
overall  shape  and  meaning  of  the  public  duties  provided  for  by  law. 

Sandys  and  Cranmer,  and  perhaps  Whitgift  as  well — the  book  is 
dedicated  to  him — evidently  persuaded  Hooker  to  alter  his  strategy,  to 
deal  with  the  specific  objections  of  the  Puritans,  and  to  do  so  at 
considerable  length.  He  may  have  done  this  reluctantly,  however,  for 
it  would  seem  reasonable  to  suggest  that  Hooker  was  satisfied  with  his 
first  effort,  confident  that  by  meeting  the  Puritans  on  common  ground 
(the  necessity  of  true  religion  for  the  well-being  of  the  common- 
wealth) and  arguing  that,  as  they  agreed  as  well  on  the  substance  of 
religion,  they  need  not  be  enemies  over  the  externals  of  worship, 
especially  such  things  in  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  as  conformed 
to  the  rules  of  reasonableness,  antiquity,  church  authority,  and  equi- 


Hooker's  discussion  of  the  place  of  worship  and  of  the  content  of 
public  worship  in  England,  the  commerce  between  God  and  man  and 
their  mutual  participation  through  Word  and  Sacrament  administered 
by  those  authorized  and  empowered  by  God,  was  meant  to  demon- 
strate that  the  Prayer  Book  adhered  to  these  rules.  Hooker  acknowl- 
edged that  his  opponents  were  reasonable  and  intelligent.  They  should 
be  fully  capable,  as  learned  clerics  of  the  Church  of  England,  of 
applying  such  rules  to  the  objections  expressed  by  the  Admonitioners. 

Religion  in  the  Commonwealth 

Viewed  from  this  perspective,  Book  V  is  a  circle  whose  circumfer- 
ence  is   the   commonwealth   and  whose   center  is  the   concept  of 

On  the  issue  of  "things  indifferent"  (adiaphora),  see  Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp. 
85—86,  above. 



participation.  That  both  emphases  are  also  present  in  the  Prayer  Book 
explains  and  confirms  Hooker's  stature  as  its  foremost  interpreter  and 

The  Book  of  Common  Prayer  came  into  being  in  1549  at  a  time 
when  there  was  a  concerted  movement  to  reform  the  commonwealth. 
The  so-called  Commonwealth-Men,  including  Edward  Seymour, 
Protector  Somerset  (1506?— 1552),  Sir  James  Hales  (d.  1554),  and 
Thomas  Smith  (1513—1577),  were  disturbed  that  avaricious  gentry 
were  engaged  in  self-serving  practices,  such  as  enclosures  and  rack- 
renting,  which  contributed  to  the  growing  number  of  the  poor  and 
exacerbated  their  wretched  plight.  Corrective  measures  were  insti- 
gated, including  the  formation  of  commissions  of  inquiry  and  the 
drafting  of  parliamentary  legislation.  Propaganda  was  forthcoming, 
most  forcefully  in  the  sermons  of  Hugh  Latimer,  Thomas  Lever,  and 
Thomas  Becon,  warning  of  the  eternal  consequences  awaiting  those 
guilty  of  such  social  evils.  In  1549  a  rebellion  broke  out  in  Cornwall 
and  Devonshire,  followed  by  another  in  East  Anglia,  aimed  at  cor- 
recting these  abuses.  Their  leaders  were  fundamentally  conservative, 
seeking  for  a  restoration  of  the  old  ways  and  protesting  against  the 
reform  of  the  church,  especially  the  banning  of  the  familiar  Mass  for 
the  sake  of  a  strange  new  order  of  worship. 

In  response  to  Kett's  rebellion  in  East  Anglia,  Archbishop  Cranmer 
preached  a  sermon  in  which  he  recognized  the  "two  destructions  of 
the  commonwealth,"  the  covetousness  of  those  who  "inclose  and 
possess  unjustly  the  commons"  and  the  mutinous  behavior  of  those 
commoners  who  "will  be  both  the  hearers,  judges,  and  reformers  of 
their  own  causes."  The  root  cause  of  the  trouble  was  that  "the 
gospel  of  God  now  set  forth  in  the  whole  realm  is  of  many  so  hated, 
that  it  is  reject,  refused,  reviled,  and  blasphemed"  (p.  197).  Cranmer 
was  referring  to  the  Word  of  God  in  preaching,  in  daily  offices,  and  in 
sacraments,  which,  devoutly  received,  is  expressed  "in  one's  manners 

18  See  W.  K.Jordan,  Edward  VI:  The  Young  King  (Cambridge:  Harvard  University 
Press,  1968),  esp.  chaps.  10-15. 

Thomas  Cranmer,  Miscellaneous  Writings,  ed.  J.  E.  Cox,  PS  (Cambridge,  1846), 
p.  196.  On  the  rebellions  see  Jordan,  Edward  VI,  pp.  439  ff.,  and  Frances  Rose-Toup, 
The  Western  Rebellion,  1549  (London,  1913),  chap.  14. 


Book  V 

and  living"  (p.  198).  The  devout  reception  of  the  Word  was  viewed 
in  terms  of  "true  and  faithful  repentance."  Repentance,  which  con- 
cerns personal  salvation,  "is  a  sorrow  conceived  for  sins  committed, 
with  hope  and  trust  to  obtain  remission  by  Christ,  with  a  firm  and 
effectual  promise  of  amendment,  and  to  alter  all  things  that  have  been 
done  amiss"  (p.  201),  such  as  (one  might  conclude)  that  done  by 
gentry  who  enclose  and  by  commoners  who  revolt.  Having  thus 
repented,  the  Christian  was  prepared  for  participation  in  Christ,  who, 
in  the  Holy  Communion,  "he  spiritually  receiveth  and  continueth  that 
life  that  is  toward  God"  (p.  173). 

The  Book  of  Common  Prayer  was  structured  with  this  concern  for 
the  commonwealth  in  mind.  Cranmer  wrote  to  the  rebels  in  Devon: 
"in  the  English  service  appointed  to  be  read  there  is  nothing  else  but 
the  eternal  Word  of  God"  (p.  180).  In  accordance  with  his  under- 
standing of  the  Word,  Cranmer  insisted  on  repentance,  especially  in 
Holy  Communion  where  communion  with  God  involves  communion 
with  one's  neighbors.  Participation  in  Christ,  the  purpose  and  end  of 
both  Baptism  and  Holy  Communion,  requires  self-examination  and 
reconciliation  with  those  whom  the  would-be  participant  has 
wronged.  Holy  Communion  brings  the  inhabitants  of  a  geograph- 
ical segment  of  the  commonwealth  (the  parish)  together  to  repent, 
with  thanksgiving  for  divine  forgiveness,  and  to  receive,  gathered 
around  the  common  table,  the  Body  and  Blood  of  the  Lord  "in 
perfect  charitie." 

Hooker's  understanding  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  is  in 
agreement  with  Cranmer's.  The  Prayer  Book  provides  for  the  "public 
religious  duties"  necessary  to  the  well-being  of  the  commonwealth.  In 
Book  I,  Hooker  describes  the  genesis  of  government  in  terms  of  the 
need  for  protection  against  wickedness  and  malice  and  for  the  pursuit 
of  the  happy  life  (chap.  10.1-3).22  In  Book  VIII  Hooker  explains  that 

See  the  rubric  in  the  1549  Prayer  Book,  in  F.  E.  Brightman,  The  English  Rite 
(London,  1915),  2:638,  and  the  Exhortation,  2:652-656,  and  see  Booty,  "Preparation 
for  the  Lord's  Supper  in  Elizabethan  England,"  Anglican  Theological  Review,  49:2  (April 
1967):  131-148. 

21  See  B.C.P.    1559,  p.  258,  and  Booty,  "The  Prayer  Book  and  the  Idea  of 
Communion,"  ibid.,  pp.  368—372. 

Two   classical  views  of  the   origins  of  government,   reflected  in   Hooker's 



the  end  of  societies  is  "living  well,"  which  involves  preferring  spiritual 
to  temporal  things  and  pre-eminently,  among  spiritual  things,  religion 
(chap.  1.4).  In  Book  I  he  explains  the  necessity  of  religion  by  con- 
tending, as  had  Augustine  of  Hippo,  that  government  is  a  result  of  the 
Fall,  that  human  nature  is  "disabled,"  and  that  men  stand  in  need  of 
that  supernatural  law  which  teaches  not  only  supernatural  duties  but 
also  "such  naturall  duties  as  coulde  not  by  light  of  nature  easilie  have 
bene  knowne"  (12.3;  1:122.4—5).  Book  V,  therefore,  recognizes  the 
Book  of  Common  Prayer  as  the  essential  means  whereby  the  com- 
monwealth may  achieve  its  intended  end:  the  happy  life,  the  life  well 
lived,  protected  against  wickedness  and  malice  and  enlightened  as  to 
the  true  nature  of  public  duties,  religious  and  natural. 

In  both  the  beginning  of  the  book  (chaps.  1—4)  and  at  its  end  (chap. 
76)  Hooker  emphasizes  that  religion  is  the  source  of  every  individual's 
true  virtue.  Such  virtue  every  commonwealth  must  realize  in  practice 
if  it  is  to  fulfill  its  social  purpose,  for  religion  must  be  the  public 
concern  of  the  commonwealth  as  well  as  the  private  concern  of  the 
individual.  The  Book  of  Common  Prayer  is  the  appointed  instrument 
"to  help  that  imbecillitie  and  weakenes  in  us"  (25.1;  2:113.22—23). 
The  sacraments  are  "morall  instrumentes  of  salvation"  (57.4;  2:246.28- 
29),  "causes  instrumentall"  (67.5;  2:334.18)  of  that  participation  in 
Christ  whereby  "such  effectes  as  beinge  derived  from  both  natures  of 
Christ  reallie  into  us  are  made  our  own"  (56.10;  2:242.21-22)  con- 
veying "a  true  actuall  influence  of  grace  whereby  the  life  which  wee 
live  accordinge  to  godlines  is  his,  and  from  him  wee  receave  those 
perfections  wherein  our  eternall  happines  consisteth"  (2:243.1—4). 
Those  who  participate  in  Christ  by  means  of  the  sacraments  not  only 
attain  to  perfection  and  happiness,  but  they  do  so  together,  all  being 
"coupled  everie  one  to  Christ  theire  head  and  all  unto  everie  particu- 
lar person  amongst  them  selves"  (56.11;  2:243.18-19). 

That  this  social  dimension  of  Hooker's  defense  of  the  Book  of 
Common  Prayer  has  not  seemed  obvious  to  recent  scholars  is  rooted 

discussion  of  the  same,  are  those  of  Aristotle  (Politics  1.1.1—12)  and  Cicero  (Pro  Sestio, 
chap.  42).  See  Joannes  Ferrarius  (Montanus),  A  Woorke  .  .  .  touchynge  the  good  orderynge 
of  a  common  weak,  trans.  William  Bavande  (London:  Jhon  Kingston  for  Jhon  Wight, 
1559;  STC  10831),  p.  llb  for  Cicero  and  p.  14b  for  Aristode. 


Book  V 

in  a  difference  in  perception  that  divides  the  sixteenth  century  from 
our  own.  The  closest  possible  relationship  between  church  and  com- 
monwealth existed  for  Hooker  and  his  contemporaries.  Although 
sometimes  perceived  as  distinct,  as  in  the  distinction  between  civil  and 
ecclesiastical  law,  together  they  constituted  a  single  unified  society; 
they  were  not,  as  some  Puritans  argued,  two  distinct  corporations 
(VIII.  1.2).  The  same  Englishmen  were  members  of  both  "polities" 
within  the  one  "politic  society,"  and  in  consequence  of  the  Fall  the 
commonwealth  was  viewed  as  incapable  of  functioning  properly  to 
realize  its  ends  without  the  church.  The  church  contributed  to  the 
health  of  the  commonwealth,  providing  knowledge  of  necessary 
duties,  supernatural  and  natural,  the  cultivation  of  virtue,  and  the 
fostering  of  that  community  of  mutual  participation  which  proleptical- 
ly  realizes  the  fullness  of  the  Kingdom  of  God  on  earth.  This  was 
widely  understood  in  the  sixteenth  century,  and  Hooker  was  writing 
to  those  whom  he  believed  possessed  or  should  possess  such  a  funda- 
mental understanding.  He  was  also  writing  with  some  awareness  that 
the  Calvinism  of  the  Puritans  threatened  such  an  understanding, 
emphasizing  as  it  did  the  radical  separation  of  the  sacred  and  the 


The  Concept  of  Participation 

The  second  focal  point  concerns  the  concept  of  participation,  the 
philosophical-theological  key  to  Hooker's  theology  in  Book  V.25 
Chapter  56  is  the  theological  heart  of  the  book,  culminating  a  long 
Christological  section  (chaps.  51-55)  and  introducing  the  chapters  which 
follow  on  the  sacraments.  It  begins  with  a  definition:  "Participation  is 

See  Cargill  Thompson,  "The  Philosopher  of  the  'Politic  Society,'"  S.R.H.,  pp. 
3-76;  rpr.  Studies  in  the  Reformation,  pp.  131-191. 

For  two  lively  discussions  of  Calvin's  "new  order"  and  the  "old  order"  of  the 
Anglican  defenders  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer,  see  David  Little,  Religion,  Order, 
and  Law:  A  Study  in  Pre-Revolutionary  England,  chaps.  3-5,  and  Michael  Walzer,  The 
Revolution  of  the  Saints:  A  Study  in  the  Origins  of  Radical  Politics  (Cambridge:  Harvard 
University  Press,  1965),  chaps.  2  and  5. 

See  Loyer,  "La  Participation,"  1:371-379. 



that  mutuall  inward  hold  which  Christ  hath  of  us  and  wee  of  him,  in 
such  sort  that  ech  possesseth  other  by  waie  of  speciall  interest  propertie 
and  inherent  copulation"  (2:234.29-31).  By  "participation"  Hooker 
does  not  mean  fusion,  absorption,  or  deification  (6e6cn<;),  nor  does  he 
refer  to  a  casual  relationship  or  kinship  (auvy£via).  What  he  means 
is  indicated  in  chapter  23  when  he  writes  of  the  "continuall  inter- 
corse"  of  Angels,  descending  from  heaven  with  doctrine  ("heavenly 
inspirations")  and  ascending  with  prayer  ("holie  desires").  In  this 
context  participation  has  to  do  with  a  mutual,  dynamic  relationship.  In 
the  sermon  Of  Pride  he  speaks  of  "the  difference  between  Christ  on 
earth  and  Christ  in  us"  as  being  "no  lesse  then  between  a  ship  on  the 
sea  and  in  the  mind  of  him  that  builded  it:  the  one  a  sensible  thing  the 
other  a  meere  shape  of  a  thing  sensible"  (5:327.13—16,  this  edn.,  citing 
a  passage  from  Gregory  of  Nazianzus).  Thus  he  would  guard  against 
what  he  saw  to  be  an  insidious  conjecture,  resulting  in  a  merger  of  the 
divine  and  the  human  so  that  the  one  or  the  other  was — or  both 
were — lost  in  the  creation  of  some  monstrous  tertium  quid. 

Hooker's  understanding  of  participation  is  related  to  two  passages  of 
Scripture  employing  two  Greek  words  properly  translated  "partici- 
pation." The  first  is  1  Cor.  10:16  where  the  word  is  KOivcovia, 
which,  in  an  important  section  on  the  Eucharist,  Hooker,  following 
the  Geneva  Bible,  translates  as  "communion"  (chap.  67.5).  But  in  the 
same  discussion  he  goes  on  to  explain  that  by  "  'the  communion  of  my 
bodie' "  what  is  meant  is  that  the  bread  received  is  instrumental  in  "the 
participation  of  his  boodie."  We  have  here  a  cause-and-effect  relation- 
ship wherein  the  faithful  receiver  is  changed,  "quickned  to  eternall 
life,"  by  receipt  of  the  body  of  Christ  (2:334.12-13,  19,  23).  Hooker 
subsequently  refers  to  the  belief  that  the  bread  and  wine  are  consecrat- 
ed and  therefore  become  "such  instrumentes  as  mysticallie  yeat  trulie, 
invisiblie  yeat  reallie  worke  our  communion  or  fellowship  [KOivcovia] 
with  the  person  of  Jesus  Christ  as  well  in  that  he  is  man  as  God"  (§ 
11;  2:339.3-6). 

The  second  New  Testament  passage  is  from  John  6,  and  in  partic- 
ular verse  56  where  Jesus  is  quoted  as  saying:  "He  that  eateth  my  flesh, 
and  drinketh  my  blood,  dwelleth  [fievei,  participates]  in  me,  and  I  in 
him."  The  Greek  word  here  is  (fi£vco),  meaning  to  abide  in  or  be  in 
union  with,  in  the  sense  that  as  the  Father  and  the  Son  are  joined  by 


Book  V 

a  community  of  life,  so  likewise  Christians  share  in  Christ's  life  as  well 
as  in  his  works.  With  ^l£v(D  we  approach  as  near  as  is  safe  to  union 
between  Christ  and  the  faithful.  This  is  the  "mysticall  communion" 
(2:340.11)  that  involves  the  deification  of  human  nature,  not  turning 
human  nature  into  deity,  but  making  our  nature  the  Deity's  "owne 
inseparable  habitation"  (54.5;  2:224.15). 

What  are  the  fruits  of  such  participation?  Not  only  the  benefits  of 
sharing  in  Christ's  life  and  thus  in  eternal  life,  but  also  that  "grace  of 
unction"  whereby  human  nature  is  replenished  "with  all  such  perfec- 
tions as  the  same  is  anie  waie  apt  to  receive"  (54.6;  2:224.19,  225.1—2) 
including  knowledge  and  "all  maner  graces  and  vertues"  (2:225.14). 
By  this  participation,  initiated  by  God,  Christians  are  incorporated 

into  that  societie  which  hath  him  for  theire  head  and  doth  make 
together  with  him  one  bodie  . . .  for  which  cause  by  vertue  of 
this  mysticall  conjunction  wee  are  of  him  and  in  him  even  as 
though  our  verie  flesh  and  bones  should  be  made  continuate 
with  his.  (56.7;  2:238.30-239.5) 

And  in  a  passage  heavily  influenced  by  Johannine  theology,  Hooker 

And  his  Church  he  frameth  out  of  the  verie  flesh,  the  verie 
wounded  and  bleedinge  side  of  the  Sonne  of  man.  His  bodie 
crucified  and  his  blood  shed  for  the  life  of  the  world,  are  the  true 
elementes  of  that  heavenlie  beinge,  which  maketh  us  such  as  him 
selfe  is  of  whome  wee  com.  For  which  cause  the  wordes  of 
Adam  may  be  fitlie  the  wordes  of  Christ  concerninge  his  Church, 
Flesh  of  my  flesh  and  bone  of  my  bones,  a  true  native  extract  out  of 
mine  owne  bodie.  (2:239.22-29)27 

See  chap.  67.1  and  Booty,  et  al.,  The  Spirit  of  Anglicanism  (Wilton,  Conn.: 
Morehouse-Barlow,  1979),  pp.  17—18.  For  a  different  point  of  view,  see  A.  M. 
Allchin,  Participation  in  God  (ibid.,  1988),  pp.  8-12. 

Compare  this  passage  with  chap.  67.12  (2:343.6—26),  drawn  from  Goulart  in  his 
edition  of  Cyprian,  on  which  see  below,  p.  217. 




A  further  clue  to  Hooker's  meaning  is  provided  by  Book  VI  where 
it  is  pointed  out 

that  the  cheifest  cause  of  spirituall  jurisdiction  is  to  provide  for 
the  health  and  safety  of  mens  soules,  by  bringing  them  to  see  and 
repent  their  grievous  offenses  committed  against  God,  as  alsoe  to 
reforme  all  injuries,  offered  with  the  breach  of  Christian  love, 
and  charitie  towards  their  brethren,  in  matters  of  Ecclesiasticall 
cognizance (3.1;  3:6.12-17) 

Participation  involves  the  working  of  "repentance  in  the  hart  of  man" 
by  God's  grace,  wherein  the  human  contribution  consists  of  allowing 
the  free  operation  of  the  divine  grace  of  repentance  (3.2;  3:7.22-8.3). 
That  is  what  is  meant  by  "a  kind  of  transubstantiation  in  us,  a  true 
change  both  of  soule  and  bodie,  an  alteration  from  death  to  life" 
(67.11;  2:339.7—340.1).  It  is  nothing  less  than  contrition,  confession, 
absolution,  and  satisfaction  or  penance;  or,  to  put  it  another  way,  it  is 
the  replenishment  or  restoration  of  finite,  fallen  human  nature  toward 
that  condition  which  obtained  at  its  first  creation. 

Thus  participation  involves  another  important  New  Testament 
concept,  that  of  nex&voia,  of  turning,  returning,  repentance  and 
conversion.  For  Jesus  in  the  Synoptic  Gospels  uex&voioc  is  a  turning 
from  sin  toward  God.  This  turning  is  required  of  all  that  would  follow 
Him  and  enter  the  Kingdom  of  God,  inheriting  eternal  life.  According 
to  Mark,  Jesus's  preaching  began  in  Galilee  with  the  Gospel  of  God: 
"The  time  is  fulfilled,  the  Kingdom  of  God  is  at  hand,  repent  (uexot- 
voeixn)  and  believe  the  gospel"  (Mark  1:15).  This  turning  affects  the 
core  of  a  person,  beginning  with  the  depths  of  the  individual  being 
and  then  reaching  out  to  affect  that  individual's  social  conduct. 

In  sixteenth-century  theological  writings  the  emphasis  on  repent- 
ance often  seems  negative,  the  denial  of  evil  thoughts  and  actions,  but 
in  the  New  Testament  such  repentance  is  regarded  as  God's  gift,  an 
act  of  grace,  initiating  renewal  and  joyous  obedience  to  the  divine 
will.     Hooker  stresses  this  positive  understanding  of  repentance: 

See  Gerhard  Kittel,  TTieological  Dictionary  of  the  New  Testament,  trans.  G.  W. 
Bromiley  (Grand  Rapids,  Mich.:  Wm.  B.  Eerdmans,  1967-76),  4:1007-1008. 


Book  V 

feare  worketh  noe  mans  inclination  to  repentance,  till  somewhat 
else  have  wrought  in  us  love  alsoe.  Our  love  and  desire  of  union 
with  God,  ariseth  from  the  strong  conceite  which  wee  have  of 
his  admirable  goodnes.  The  goodnes  of  God,  which  particularly 
mooveth  unto  repentance,  is  his  mercie  towards  mankind,  not- 
withstanding sinne.  For  lett  it  once  sinke  deepely  into  the  minde 
of  man,  that  howsoever  wee  have  injuried  God,  his  verie  nature 
is  averse  from  revenge,  except  unto  sinne  wee  adde  obstinacie, 
otherwise  allwayes  readie  to  accept  our  submission,  as  a  full 
discharge  or  recompence  for  all  wrongs;  and  can  wee  chuse  butt 
beginne  to  love  him,  whome  wee  have  offended,  or  can  wee 
butt  beginne  to  greeve,  that  wee  have  offended  him  whome  wee 
now  love?  (VI.3.3;  3:9.24-10.4) 

The  two  foci,  commonwealth  and  participation,  the  political-histor- 
ical and  the  philosophical-theological,  merge.  Participation  involves 
that  repentance  and  amendment  of  life  which  serve  to  perfect  the 
individuals  who  comprise  the  commonwealth.  The  commonwealth 
protects  and  assists  true  religion  by  providing  by  law  a  Prayer  Book 
such  as  cultivates  the  virtues  of  participation  in  Christ.  The  purpose  of 
the  Holy  Communion,  according  to  John  Jewel's  homily  in  the  Second 
Book  of  Homilies  (1563),  is  to  show  Christ's  sacrifice  with  thanksgiving: 
to  show  forth  that  oneness  of  life  involves  "not  only  our  communion 
with  Christ,  but  that  unity  also,  wherein  they  that  eat  at  this  table 
should  be  knit  together."  Jewel  concludes: 

as  there  is  here  the  mystery  of  peace,  and  the  sacrament  of  chris- 
tian society,  whereby  we  understand  what  sincere  love  ought  to 
be  betwixt  the  true  communicants;  so  here  be  the  tokens  of 
pureness  and  innocency  of  life,  whereby  we  may  perceive  that 
we  ought  to  purge  our  own  soul  from  all  uncleanness,  iniquity, 
and  wickedness .... 

Both  Jewel  and  Hooker  understood,  as  had  Cranmer,  that  the  basic 
thrust  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  was  its  reiterated  insistence 

Certain  Sermons  or  Homilies  appointed  to  be  Read  in  Churches  in  the  Time  of  Queen 
Elizabeth  (London,  [1864]),  pp.  481,  482-483.  On  Jewel's  authorship  see  J.  Griffiths, 
Two  Books  of  Homilies  (Oxford,  1859),  p.  xxxiv. 



upon  repentance  and  renewal.  The  health  and  survival  of  the  com- 
monwealth depended  upon  the  seriousness  with  which  citizens  in 
every  parish  of  England  responded  to  the  invitation  to  confession: 

You  that  doe  truly  and  earnestly  repente  you  of  youre  synnes, 
and  bee  in  love  and  charitie  with  your  neighbours,  and  entende 
to  leade  a  newe  lyfe,  folowynge  the  commaundments  of  god,  and 
walking  from  henceforth  in  his  holie  waies:  Drawe  nere  and  take 
this  holy  Sacramente  to  youre  comfort:  make  your  humble 
confession  to  almightie  god,  before  this  congregacion  here  gath- 
ered together  in  his  holy  name,  mekely  knelyng  upon  your 

i  30 


The  Principle  of  Correspondence 

That  the  Prayer  Book  thus  provides  for  the  health  and  survival  of 
the  commonwealth  argues  that  the  laws  enforcing  its  use  are  both  just 
and  good.  Furthermore,  by  focusing  on  participation  (with  repentance 
as  a  necessary  corollary),  the  Prayer  Book  avoids  superstition,  the 
abhorrence  or  observance  of  things  "with  a  zealous  or  fearefull,  but 
erroneous  relation  to  God,"  with  the  result  that  often  others  are  given 
those  honors  "as  properlie  are  his"  (3.2;  2:28.17,  20-21).  The  Puritans 
would  dismiss 

our  prayers,  our  sacrementes,  our  fastes,  our  tymes  and  places  of 
publique  meetinge  together  for  the  worship  and  service  of  God, 
our  mariages,  our  burials,  our  functions,  elections  and  ordinations 
ecclesiasticall,  allmost  whatsoever  wee  doe  in  the  exercise  of  our 
religion  accordinge  to  lawes  for  that  purpose  established, . . .  [as] 
thinges  stained  with  superstition.  (4.1;  2:30.18-24) 

On  the  contrary,  the  Prayer  Book  worship  of  God  is  reasonable,  it  is 
supported  by  the  judgment  of  antiquity  and  by  the  just  authority  of 
the  church  itself,  and  it  is  not  rigid,  for  dispensation  is  granted  where 
necessary.  Attention  must  be  fixed  on  the  way  in  which  ritual  and 
ceremony  mirror  what  is  good  and  true: 

30  First  and  Second  Prayer  Books  of  Edward  VI,  p.  386;  B.C.P.,  1559,  p.  259. 


Book  V 

That  which  inwardlie  each  man  should  be,  the  Church  outward- 
lie  ought  to  testifie.  And  therefore  the  duties  of  our  religion 
which  are  seene  must  be  such  as  that  affection  which  is  unseen 
ought  to  be.  Signes  must  resemble  the  thinges  they  signifie.  If 
religion  beare  the  greatest  swaie  in  our  hartes,  our  outwarde 
religious  duties  must  show  it,  as  farre  as  the  Church  hath  out- 
warde habilitie.  Duties  of  religion  performed  by  whole  societies 
of  men,  ought  to  have  in  them  accordinge  to  our  power  a  sensi- 
ble excellencie,  correspondent  to  the  majestie  of  him  whome  we 
worship.  Yea  then  are  the  publique  duties  of  religion  best  or- 
dered, when  the  militant  Church  doth  resemble  by  sensible 
meanes,  as  it  maie  in  such  cases,  that  hidden  dignitie  and  glorie 
wherewith  the  Church  triumphant  in  heaven  is  bewtified.  (6.2; 

It  is  this  outward  representation  of  the  inward  reality  for  which 
Hooker  is  most  concerned.  The  principle  of  the  correspondence 
between  the  two,  fundamental  to  this  mode  of  thought,  necessitates 
Hooker's  discussion  of  the  terms  of  dispensation  or  equity.  The 
relationship  of  correspondence  must  be  the  center  of  attention,  not 
particulars  that  are  in  themselves  simply  instruments  for  the  represen- 
tation of  the  unseen  in  the  seen.  It  is  by  means  of  correspondence  that 
the  consecrated  elements  in  the  Holy  Communion  are  "such  instru- 
mentes  as  mysticallie  yeat  trulie,  invisiblie  yeat  reallie  worke  our  com- 
munion or  fellowship  with  the  person  of  Jesus  Christ"  (67.11;  2:339. 
3—5).  So  long  as  that  correspondence  exists  in  the  Holy  Communion 
and  elsewhere  in  the  principal  parts  or  movements  of  the  Prayer  Book, 
there  can  be  no  superstition.  The  Prayer  Book  is  not  absolutely  free  of 
possibility  of  superstition,  but  there  is  nothing  in  it  that  is  necessarily 
superstitious,  for  superstition  arises  from  the  zeal  or  fear  of  the  wor- 
shipper, and  the  Prayer  Book  provides  the  correspondence  that  results 
in  true  worship  and  virtuous  behavior  where  the  worshipper  is  proper- 
ly contrite. 

Here  Hooker  rests  his  case.  If  he  entered  into  the  particularities  in 
the  first  draft,  they  are,  in  fact,  illustrations  or  applications  of  these 
principles.  If,  as  I  judge  more  likely,  the  particularities  are  his  response 
to  the  demands  of  his  critics,  he  did  so  with  the  firm  conviction  that 



such  expansion  carried  out  the  logical  consequences  of  those  princi- 
ples, even  if  the  resulting  detail  of  the  expansion  has  admittedly 
created  obstacles  for  those  in  the  post-Christian  West  who  seek  to  read 
and  to  understand  this  book. 


ti.  Hooker's  Sources 


If  frequency  of  citation  is  a  sufficient  gauge,  then  the  Holy  Bible 
must  be  accounted  Hooker's  chief  source  in  Book  V,  as  it  was  in 
Book  I  (see  p.  91,  above).  He  specifically  cites  biblical  passages  524 
times,  195  from  the  Old  Testament,  329  from  the  New,  and  17  from 
the  Apocrypha.  Moreover,  steeped  as  he  was  in  Scripture,  Hooker 
often  uses  biblical  language  and  quotes  biblical  passages  without 
acknowledgment.  He  cites  passages  from  most  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment books,  most  frequently  Psalms  (24  times)  and  Isaiah  (18).  He 
makes  use  of  all  of  the  New  Testament  (excepting  the  Second  and 
Third  Epistles  of  John),  chiefly  Matthew  (33),  Luke  (22),  John  (50), 
Acts  (34),  1  Corinthians  (28),  and  Ephesians  (22).  Prominent  out  of 
proportion  to  their  length  are  1  Timothy  (13)  and  Hebrews  (19).  He 
normally  uses  the  Geneva  Bible  when  quoting  the  Old  Testament,  but 
usually  translates  himself  from  the  Greek  or  the  Vulgate  when  quoting 
from  the  New. 


Modern  studies  of  Book  V  include  Francis  Paget,  An  Introduction  to  the  Fifth 
Book  of  Hooker's  Treatise  of  the  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity  (Oxford,  1899;  2nd  edn., 
1907);  Ronald  Bayne,  ed.,  The  Fifth  Book  (London,  1902);  F.  A.  C.  Youens,  Analysis 
of  Hooker's  Ecclesiastical  Polity:  Book  ^(London,  1912);  and  J.  S.  Marshall,  Hooker's 
Theology  of  Common  Prayer:  The  Fifth  Book  of  the  Polity  Paraphrased  and  Expanded  into 
a  Commentary  on  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  (Sewanee,  Tenn.:  University  Press  of  the 
University  of  the  South,  1956). 

Hooker's  references  to  Scripture  were  indexed  in  Keble  (3:713-729)  and  they 
are  listed  below  in  the  ISR;  compare  the  ISR,  5:851-909,  this  edn. 

He  does  not  cite  Amos,  Exodus,  Habakkuk,  Lamentations,  Nahum,  Ruth,  Song 
of  Solomon,  or  Zephaniah. 

Concerning  translations,  see  chap.  19.2-3  (2:68.16-70.20).  That  Hooker  may 


Book  V 


Thomas  Cartwright's  three  volumes  in  defense  of  the  1572  Admo- 
nitions to  the  parliament  represent  another  significant  source.35  Hook- 
er cites  Cartwright  often  and  usually  in  those  chapters  described  above 
as  being  added  by  Hooker  at  the  suggestion  of  Cranmer  and  Sandys. 
By  implication,  the  use  of  Cartwright's  books  suggests  the  use  of 
Whitgift's  refutation  of  the  Admonitions,  together  with  his  response  to 
Cartwright.  Hooker  never  explicitly  refers  to  Whitgift's  works,  but  he 
must  have  consulted  them  often,  for  the  agreement  of  Hooker's 
arguments  with  those  found  in  Whitgift's  1574  Defense  of  the  Aunswere 
is  evident.  The  polemical  situation  required  Hooker  to  cite  Cart- 
wright, not  Whitgift,  to  whom  Hooker  had  paid  his  dues  in  the 
Dedication.  Add  to  the  Cartwright  volumes  three  other  related 
items — the  Admonitions  themselves,  the  Puritan  prayer  book,  A  Booke 
of  the  Forme  of  Common  Prayer  (1584/5;  STC  16567-69),  and  Walter 
Travers's  Ecclesiasticae  disciplinae  .  .  .  explicatio,  translated  into  English  by 
Cartwright  — and  Hooker  had  all  that  he  needed  in  order  to  obtain 
authoritative  citations  from  the  Puritans  of  his  day. 

Other  contemporary  Puritan  sources  Hooker  cites  include  An 
Abstract,  of  Certain  Acts  of  Parliament  (1583;  STC  10394),  published 
anonymously,  and  the  separatist  Henry  Barrow's  A  Briefe  Discouerie  of 
the  False  Church  (1591?;  STC  1517),  six  times  each,  and  the  tracts  of 
Martin  Marprelate  and  other  writings  in  the  genre,  four  times  (see  pp. 
24—25  and  n.  42,  above).  John  Rainolds's  De  Romanae  ecclesiae  idolola- 
tria  (1596;  STC  20606)  is  cited  once.  There  are  few  direct  references 
to  the  works  of  the  continental  Reformers.  Hooker  did  use  the 
Harmonia  confessionum  fidei  five  times  (1586;  STC  5155),  an  epistle  of 
Beza's,  and 

have  used  the  Vulgate  for  Old  Testament  passages  on  occasion  is  suggested  by  his 
reference  to  "1  reg."  in  the  note  to  chap.  12.3  (2:52.i):  neither  the  Geneva  Bible  nor 
the  Bishops  Bible  has  such  a  designation. 

They  are  listed  above,  pp.  71—72,  n.  152. 

Cargill  Thompson  states:  "Hooker's  argument  was  basically  an  extension  of 
Whitgift's"  (S.R.H.,  p.  24;  Studies  in  the  Reformation,  p.  151). 

For  a  citation  of  the  first  Admonition,  see  chap.  64,  head-note  (2:293.2). 



Sibrand  Lubbert's  De  principiis  Christianorum  dogmatum,  but  he  makes 
no  direct  references  to  the  writings  of  Luther  or  Calvin.38 

Early  Church  Fathers  and  Historians 

Next  in  terms  of  the  total  number  of  citations  are  the  early  church 
Fathers.  Out  of  roughly  300  citations,  one  third  are  to  an  awesome 
triumvirate:  Tertullian  (40),  Augustine  (32),  and  Cyprian  (32),  the 
latter  including  the  wrongly  attributed  De  coena  Domini,  discussed 
below.  There  follow  Theodoret  (21),  Jerome  (16),  Basil  of  Caesarea 
(13),  Gregory  of  Nazianzus  (12),  Irenaeus  (11),  Cyril  of  Alexandria  (9), 
Leo  I  (9),  and  Ambrose  of  Milan  (7).  The  remaining  citations  are 
distributed  among  twenty-nine  other  authors  with  Hilary  of  Poitiers, 
John  Damascene,  Isidore  of  Seville,  John  Chrysostom,  Dionysius  the 
Areopagite,  and  Epiphanius  among  the  most  prominent.  On  the 
whole  Hooker  cites  those  whom  we  would  expect:  he  explicitly  cites 
Tertullian  more  often  than  he  does  Augustine,  although  modern 
editors  have  found  more  references  to  the  latter  in  Book  V  (direct 
citations  and  others)  than  to  Tertullian. 

In  addition,  there  are  the  early  church  historians,  most  prominently 
Eusebius  of  Caesarea,  Theodoret  of  Cyrrhus  (noted  above),  Socrates 
Scholasticus,  and  Sozomen.  Also  cited  are  Rufinus,  Nicephorus,  and 
Sulpicius  Severus.  Medieval  and  Reformation  historical  works  cited 
include  the  Historia  tripartita,  Bartholomeo  Platina's  De  uitis  Pontificum 
Romanorum,  and  Joseph  Scaliger's  De  emendatione  temporum. 

Legal  and  Non-Christian  Sources 

Hooker's  use  of  legal  sources  embraces  both  canon  and  civil  law. 
Citations  involve  ecclesiastical  councils  (19),  the  Corpus  juris  canonici 
(9),  and  the  Apostolic  Constitutions  (3).  Citations  involving  civil  law 

For  Hooker's  knowledge  of  Calvin,  however,  see  Egil  Grislis,  Introduction  to 
the  Commentary,  Tractates  and  Sermons,  5:631-633,  this  edn. 

In  the  "Index  of  Authorities  Quoted,"  in  Keble  (3:730,  735),  there  are  forty  ci- 
tations of  Augustine  in  Book  V  to  twenty-nine  of  Tertullian,  and  in  Bayne's  index,  there 
are  fourteen  lines  of  citations  from  Augustine  to  eleven  from  Tertullian  (pp.  727,  737). 


Book  V 

include  the  Corpus  juris  ciuilis,  principally  the  Digest  (19)  and  the  Codex 
(8).  Hooker  also  cited  Charlemagne's  Capitula  siue  leges  ecclesiasticae  et 
ciuiles  and  Lyndewode's  Provinciale.  This  topic  deserves  further  study. 

Hooker's  classical,  non-Christian  sources  are  numerous,  but  of  more 
than  seventy  citations,  one-third  (23)  are  to  Aristotle,  as  might  be 
expected.  Next  in  terms  of  frequency  of  citation  are  Cicero  (4), 
Seneca  (4),  Dio  Cassius  (3),  Dionysius  of  Halicarnassus  (3),  Euripides 
(3),  and  Pliny  the  Elder  (2). 

Citations  of  medieval  works  are  less  numerous.  There  are  six  specif- 
ic references  to  the  writings  of  Thomas  Aquinas,  principally  the 
Summa  theologiae  (Hooker  used  the  edition  of  the  sixteenth-century 
cardinal  Thomas  de  Vio  Cajetanus),  but  again,  as  with  Augustine, 
the  paucity  of  specific  citations  is  no  basis  on  which  to  gauge  Aqui- 
nas's  influence  on  Hooker.  In  addition,  Hooker  cites  Hugh  of  St. 
Victor,  Bernard  of  Clairvaux,  Gabriel  Biel,  Rupert  of  Deutz,  and 
Arnold  of  Bonneval. 

References  to  Jewish  sources  are  dominated  by  Philo  Judaeus  (12) 
and  Josephus's  Antiquitates  Judaicae  (7).  There  are  individual  references 
to  Moses  Maimonides'  Director  dubitantium  aut  perplexorum,  the  Hebrew 
Prayer  Book  and  Catechism,  the  Thisbites  of  Elias  Levita,  and  the 

Lexicons  and  related  works  of  reference  cited  by  Hooker  include 
the  Etymologicon  magnum  (1594)  and  the  Lexicons  of  Alexander  Hesy- 
chius  and  Suidas. 

Undocumented  Souces 

Hooker's  explicit  citations,  however,  do  not  fully  reveal  the  sources 
of  his  ideas  and  attitudes.  He  repeatedly  consulted  the  Book  of  Com- 
mon Prayer  and  other  authoritative  English  formularies.     There  are 

40  See  Keble,  3:735,  and  Bayne,  p.  726.  The  Commentary  below  lists  twenty-nine 
references  to  Aquinas  in  Book  V. 

41  See  John  S.  Marshall,  Hooker  and  the  Anglican  Tradition,  chap.  7;  Egil  Grislis, 
Introduction  to  the  Commentary,  5:631-632;  and  Introduction  to  Book  I,  p.  92, 

For  a  specific  reference,  see  chap.  19.4;  2:70.x. 



no  specific  references  to  the  Thirty-Nine  Articles  of  Religion  or  the 
two  books  of  Homilies,  yet  they  were  in  use,  authorized  and  enforced 
by  the  law  of  the  land.  Hooker  could  hardly  have  been  unmindful  of 
them,  especially  when  the  Admonitioners  or  Cartwright  made  refer- 
ence to  them,  and  he  would  have  looked  to  the  growing  collection  of 
Articles  and  Injunctions  of  Visitation  as  well,  especially  those  of  the 
Royal  Visitation  of  1559,  which  continued  to  be  reprinted,  enforced, 
and  reflected  in  provincial  and  diocesan  injunctions  throughout  the 
reign.  He  would  also  have  had  Calvin's  Institutes  at  hand  or  in  mind 
as  he  wrote,  for  he  certainly  knew  and  used  them  elsewhere  in  his 
wri tings.  When  defending  himself  against  A  Christian  Letter,  he  spoke 
highly  of  Calvin  and  quoted  Luther,  Melanchthon,  and  Bullinger, 
though  this  material  was  not  published  in  his  lifetime. 

It  was  not  customary  for  an  English  apologist  to  refer  frequently  to 
English  reformers  such  as  Cranmer,  Ridley,  Latimer,  and  Jewel,  but 
Hooker  was  well  read  in  their  works,  as  is  indicated  again  by  his 
responses  to  A  Christian  Letter.  We  may  assume  that  Hooker  was  aware 
of  the  writings  of  such  contemporaries  as  John  Bridges,  dean  of  Salis- 
bury while  Hooker  was  sub-dean,  Richard  Cosin,  who  wrote  of 
the  Hacket  conspiracy  and  against  the  Puritan  Abstract,  and  Hadrian 
Saravia,  Hooker's  neighbor  in  Kent  from  1595  until  he  died.  One 
must  also  consider  those  whom  Hooker  knew  personally,  but  who 
influenced  him  not  through  their  writings  but  rather  through  conver- 
sation, colleagues  such  as  John  Rainolds  and  Lancelot  Andrewes. 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  p.  8  and  n.  9,  above. 
44  For  examples,  see  above,  4:46.15;  55.15-57.12;  57.30-58.6;  and  60.8-10,  this 

It  must  be  assumed  that  Hooker  knew  Bridges'  massive  A  Defence  of  the 
Government  Established  in  the  Church  ofEnglande  (1587;  STC  3734).  Whether  or  not  he 
was  influenced  by  it  is  unclear.  It  has,  however,  been  referred  to  in  the  Commentary 
below  as  appropriate.  See  nn  to  2:119.11-12,  136:27,  270.14-16,  and  303.8-9. 

46  See  Conspiracie,  for  Pretended  Reformation  (1591;  STC  5823),  and  2:26.x  and  n. 
See  also  An  Answer  to  the  first  and  principall  treatises  of  a  certeine  factious  libell,  An  Abstract 
.  .  .  (1584;  STC  5819.5),  referred  to  in  nn  to  2:41.7,  472.10-11,  475.p,  478.4,  and 

For  instance,  De  diversis  ministrorum  evangelii  gradibus  (1590;  STC  21746),  and 
the  English  translation  (1591;  STC  21749). 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  53-54,  above. 


Book  V 

We  shall  never  know  the  full  extent  to  which  Cranmer  and  Sandys 
were  themselves  sources  upon  whom  Hooker  relied.  Above  all  we 
must  take  into  account  the  influence  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer, 
used  daily  by  Hooker  as  a  priest  of  the  church,  with  its  unending 
round  of  lessons,  canticles  and  prayers,  its  sacraments  and  pastoral 
offices,  and  above  all  the  ethos  which  it  nurtured.  In  the  end,  the 
greatest  source  and  influence  on  Book  V  was  the  very  book  which 
Hooker  set  out  to  defend. 

in.  Hooker's  Use  of  Sources 


Hooker  argued  his  main  points  in  Book  V  on  the  basis  of  Scripture. 
Citations  to  it  were  fundamental  to  his  task,  both  because  the  Puritans' 
first  appeal  was  to  Scripture  and  because  he  himself  regarded  Scripture 
as  authoritative  in  all  matters  pertaining  to  salvation,  the  raison  d'itre  of 
the  church  whose  polity  he  was  defending.  Furthermore  he  regarded  the 
Scriptures  as  a  source  for  discerning  natural  laws  as  well,  so  long  as  the 
circumstances  and  intent  of  particular  passages  were  taken  into  ac- 
count. That  Book  V  is  so  very  biblical  is  not  surprising  in  the  light  of 
Archbishop  Cranmer's  contention  that  the  Prayer  Book  Hooker  is 
defending  is  itself  largely  composed  of  words,  sentences,  and  chapters 
out  of  the  Bible. 

Hooker's  reliance  on  Scripture  is  especially  evident  in  those  chapters 
where  he  is  concerned  to  establish  the  fundamental  assumptions  of  his 
argument.  Chapter  56,  the  central  chapter  of  Book  V  and  an  epitome 
of  Hooker's  theology,  provides  an  excellent  example.  Here  there  are 
fifty  biblical  passages  cited,  chiefly  from  the  New  Testament.  Nineteen 
are  from  the  Johannine  gospel  and  epistles,  and  twenty  are  from  works 
ascribed  to  the  apostle  Paul;  included  are  many  of  the  central  texts  in 
the  Christian  tradition.  Eighteen  of  the  citations  are  made  in  the 
course  of  section  7,  where  Hooker  sets  forth  his  ecclesiology.  He  has 
asserted  that  life  comes  from  God  by  the  Son,  through  the  Spirit,  and 

See  p.  195,  above;  and  see  the  Preface  to  the  first  two  editions  of  the  Book  of 
Common  Prayer  (1910  edn.),  p.  4. 



he  now  adds  that  this  occurs  in  the  context  of  the  church.  He  force- 
fully argues  that  it  is  not  sufficient  to  be  in  Christ  by  "eternall  fore- 
knowledge" (2:238.27—28).  We  are  in  Christ  "by  our  actuall  incorpo- 
ration [Col.  2:10]  into  that  societie  which  hath  him  for  theire  head 
and  doth  make  together  with  him  one  bodie"  (2:238.30—239.2).  He 
further  emphasizes  this  by  asserting  that  "by  vertue  of  this  mysticall 
conjunction  wee  are  of  him  and  in  him  even  as  though  our  verie  flesh 
and  bones  should  be  made  continuate  with  his  [Eph.  5:30]"  (2:239.3—5). 
Hooker  understands  Col.  2:10  ("And  ye  are  compleate  in  him,  which  is 
the  head  of  all  Principalitie  and  Power")  as  referring  to  Christ's  headship 
over  the  church,  rather  than  to  his  rule  over  the  vast  array  of  elemental 
spirits  (o~TOl5££ia) — "things  visible  and  invisible:  whether  they  be 
Thrones,  or  Dominions,  or  Principalities,  or  Powers  . . ."  (Col.  1:16) — 
of  the  whole  creation.  There  follows  an  explanation  that  is  strongly 
Johannine.  The  "mysterie  of  our  coherence  with  Jesus  Christ"  (2:239. 
19)  is  documented  by  reference  to  John  14:20  ("I  am  in  my  Father,  and 
you  in  me,  and  I  in  you")  and  15:4  ("Abide  in  me,  and  I  in  you:  as  the 
branche  cannot  beare  frute  of  it  self,  except  it  abide  in  the  vine,  no 
more  can  ye,  except  ye  abide  in  me").  The  key  word  here  is  "abide" 
(fjefvare),  which  can  also  be  translated  "participate." 

In  chapter  67,  his  major  presentation  of  his  Eucharistic  doctrine, 
Hooker  begins  by  citing  John  6:53,  emphasizing  the  necessity  of 
eating  "the  flesh  of  the  sonne  of  man."  The  assertion,  "He  that  eateth  my 
flesh,  and  drinketh  my  blood,  dwelleth  [^£vei]  in  me,  and  I  in  him" 
(v.  56),  is  a  key  citation  for  the  New  Testament  theology  of  mutual 
participation.  But  in  this  chapter,  which  emphasizes  scriptural  citations 
up  to  section  1 1  (at  which  point  citations  of  the  Fathers  dominate  the 
page;  see  2:338-339),  Hooker  uses  1  Cor.  10:16-17  in  which  the 
Greek  word  KOivcavfa  conveys  the  proper  understanding  of  participa- 
tion (67.5;  2:334.11-13). 

Hooker's  exegesis,  in  this  his  major  presentation  on  participation  in 
and  through  the  Eucharist,  is  carefully  done,  although  it  can  rightly  be 

Hooker  is  clearly  mistaken  in  this  instance.  Eph.  5:30  is  a  more  serviceable  citation 
("we  are  members  of  his  bodie"),  especially  if  we  accept  the  addition:  "of  his  flesh,  and 
of  his  bones,"  in  the  Geneva  Bible,  but  not  now  in  Revised  Standard  Version  or  the 
New  English  Bible,  although  accepted  by  Beare  in  the  Interpreter's  Bible. 
S1  6:52  in  text  (330.5). 


Book  V 

called  eisegesis  in  that  he  understands  Paul  not  so  much  on  Paul's 
terms  as  in  relation  to  the  Eucharistic  controversy  of  the  sixteenth 
century.  Although  Hooker  surrounds  this  crucial  interpretation  with 
the  Words  of  Institution  as  found  in  the  synoptic  gospels  (see  Matt. 
26:26-28,  Mark  14:22-25,  and  Luke  22:15-20),  he  knows  that  those 
bare  texts  can  be  and  have  been  variously  interpreted  to  support 
widely  differing  theologies.  He  therefore  turns  to  Paul,  "our  Lordes 
Apostle,"  who  gives  his  account  of  the  Words  of  Institution  in  1  Cor. 
11:23—26,  for  an  authoritative  gloss.  Thus,  "this  is  my  bodie"  in  the 
synoptics  and  in  1  Cor.  11  means,  according  to  1  Cor.  10:16—17,  "My 
body,  'the  communion  of  my  body'."  From  this  follows  the  conclusion, 
referring  to  1  Cor.  10:17:  "The  bread  and  cup  are  his  bodie  and  blood 
because  they  are  causes  instrumentall  upon  the  receipt  whereof  the 
participation  of  his  boodie  and  bloode  ensueth"  (2:334.12-13,  17—19). 

In  chapter  18.1  Hooker  grounds  his  definition  of  preaching  in  two 
passages  in  Luke  (8:39,  12:3),  referring  to  the  Greek  Kr)puo~acD  (the 
simple  act  of  proclamation),  which  is  related  to  K^piryua  (the  Gospel 
that  is  preached),  indicating  not  a  formal  sermon  but  the  act  of  com- 
municating the  good  news  of  the  Gospel.  In  chapter  23.1  he  defines 
prayer  in  terms  of  Hosea  14:2  as  "calves  [=sacrifices]  of  our  lippes," 
Rev.  5:8,  "odours"  [=incense],  and  Acts  10:4,  "Thy  prayers  . . .  are 
come  up  into  remembrance  [=as  a  memorial]  before  God."  The  major 
image  of  the  chapter  is  that  of  Genesis  28:12:  "Then  he  [Jacob] 
dreamed,  and  beholde,  there  stode  a  ladder  upon  the  earth  and  the  top 
of  it  reached  up  to  heaven:  and  lo,  the  Angels  of  God  went  up  and 
downe  by  it."  Prayers  are  sent  up,  ascending  like  incense  rising,  the 
sacrifices  of  our  lips,  in  response  to  the  holy  inspiration  that  descends, 
a  saving  doctrine  preached  in  a  variety  of  ways.  Hooker  thus  rooted 
this  fundamental  rhythm  of  preaching  and  prayer,  descent  and  ascent, 
in  Scripture. 

Hooker  obviously  used  Scripture  as  he  understood  it.  Sometimes,  as 
in  his  interpretation  of  Col.  2:10  (56.7),  we  would  not  now  agree  with 
him,  but  others  in  his  day  did  (see  n.  50,  above).  At  other  times  there 
were  strong  disagreements  between  Hooker  and  his  contemporaries 

A  more  systematic  and  didactic  definition  of  prayer  with  no  Scripture  citations 
is  found  in  chap.  48.2,  but  even  there  he  uses  the  image  of  ascent  when  saying  that 
prayers  are  "elevations  of  spirit  unto  God"  (2:189.23-24). 



over  the  meaning  of  particular  passages.  A  vivid  example  is  that  of 
Hooker's  use  of  John  3:5  in  connection  with  the  necessity  of  baptism 
(see  2:251.5— 252. 26.n).  The  question  is  whether  or  not  the  reference 
to  water  and  spirit  refers  to  it.  If  it  does,  then  it  is  clear  that  Jesus  is 
saying  that  "except  a  man  be  borne  of  water  and  of  the  spirit  [that  is, 
baptism],  he  can  not  enter  into  the  kingdome  of  God."  Cartwright,  in 
agreement  with  Calvin,  argued  that  the  reference  was  not  to  mate- 
rial water  but  to  "the  Spirit  of  God  which  clenseth  the  filth  of  synne" 
(quoted  by  Hooker  in  the  head-note  to  chap.  59;  2:251.17—18). 
Instead,  Hooker  develops  Whitgift's  defense  of  the  Church  of 
England's  teaching,  asserting  that  the  literal  construction  of  the  scrip- 
tural passage  points  to  "regeneration  by  water  and  the  holie  Ghost" 
(59.2;  2:252. 13-14). 54  Modern  scholarship  supports  Calvin  and  Cart- 
wright,  and  the  argument  has  been  made  that  Hooker  himself  did 
not  subscribe  to  the  absolute  necessity  of  baptism  in  the  way  it  was 
insisted  upon  in  the  medieval  church.  He  was,  in  this  place,  concerned 
to  show  that  John  3:5  "was  a  definite  barrier  to  the  laxity  which 
Puritanism  would  inevitably  encourage."  Indeed,  it  was  the  inter- 
pretation of  this  text  that  prompted  Hooker  to  exclaim,  in  some 
exasperation:  "I  holde  it  for  a  most  infallible  rule  in  expositions  of 
sacred  scripture,  that  where  a  litterall  construction  will  stand,  the 
farthest  from  the  letter  is  commonlie  the  worst"  (2:252.5—7). 

Non-Christian  Sources 

Hooker  did  not  ground  all  his  arguments  in  Scripture.  In  the  first 
chapter  of  Book  V,  where  he  is  concerned  to  establish  the  necessity  of 
"true  religion"  to  the  well-being  of  the  commonwealth,  he  appeals  to 

See  Calvin's  Commentary  on  the  Gospel  of  John  (1961),  1:65. 

54  See  Whitgift,  Works  (PS),  2:521-522. 

55  See  Raymond  E.  Brown,  ed.,  The  Gospel  According  to  John,  The  Anchor  Bible 
(Garden  City,  N.Y.:  Doubleday  and  Company,  1966),  1:141-144,  and  C.  H.  Dodd, 
The  Interpretation  of  the  Fourth  Gospel  (Cambridge:  The  University  Press,  1954),  pp. 
305,  312. 

56  See  G.  W.  Bromiley,  Baptism  and  the  Anglican  Reformers  (London:  Lutterworth 
Press,  1953),  pp.  58-59,  63. 


Book  V 

Aristotle  as  witness  to  the  truths  of  natural  religion  and  political 
science.  Thus  Aristotle  is  cited  as  arguing  that  the  politician  must  be 
virtuous  (Magna  moralia,  1.1);  that  justice  inflames  men  to  do  good,  the 
service  rendered  to  a  people  being  nobler  and  more  divine  than  that 
rendered  to  an  individual  (Nicomachean  Ethics,  1.2);  and  that  things 
religiously  done  result  in  prosperity,  but  those  who  are  good  and  wise 
will  take  "with  dignity  whatever  fortune  sends,"  making  the  best  of 
the  circumstances  (1.10).  In  addition,  the  Old  Testament  and  Philo 
Judaeus  are  also  cited  as  witnesses  to  the  natural  order  of  society  and 
the  necessity  of  religion. 

At  the  end  of  Book  V,  chapter  76  provides  a  new  beginning  and 
points  toward  Books  VI  and  VII.  It  starts  by  appealing  to  pre-Christian 
sources  that  all  know  and  acknowledge,  whether  Christian  or  not.  On 
that  basis  Hooker  proceeds  to  a  discussion  of  the  place  of  the  church's 
ordained  ministry  in  relation  to  the  fundamental  well-being  of  the 
commonwealth.  In  writing  of  "good  thinges  temporall"  (2:414.28— 
29).  Hooker  cites  Euripides  as  saying  that  our  possessions  are  not 
finally  ours  but  that  we  hold  them  as  "stewards  of  the  gifts  of  God" 
(2:41 5. f.n)  and  that  those  who  prosper  do  so  because  their  "actions 
. . .  have  bene  orderlie  and  well  guided"  (2:415.25).  As  the  chapter 
proceeds,  Hooker  cites  Herodotus,  Proverbs,  Aristotle,  and  Euripides 
again.  Where  Hooker  is  concerned  for  what  is  known  through  the 
natural  order,  he  cites  classical  antiquity  along  with  appropriate  passag- 
es out  of  the  Old  Testament.  This  is  true  of  the  citation  of  Dionysi- 
us  of  Halicarnassus  testifying  as  a  heathen  to  the  sanctity  of  the  mar- 
riage bond  (73.3;  2:402. r)  and  of  Livy  and  Cicero  witnessing  to  the 
necessity  of  women  being  given  in  marriage  by  their  fathers  (73.5; 
2:403.  v).  Thus,  in  treating  those  who  despoil  the  church  of  her  right- 
ful possessions,  Hooker  cites  Virgil,  Cicero,  and  Seneca  on  the  penal- 
ties incurred  by  those  who  commit  sacrilege  (79.16;  2:461. l,m). 

57  The  author(s)  of  A  Christian  Letter  particularly  objected  to  Hooker's  use  of 
Aristotle  and  the  Schoolmen.  See,  4:64.25—67.6,  this  edn. 



Patristic  Sources 

Hooker's  use  of  patristic  sources  in  Book  V  is  not  on  the  whole 
exceptional.  He  cites  them  when  concerned  to  demonstrate  that 
what  he  writes  is  in  agreement  with  godly  tradition.  This  agrees  with 
the  Anglican  understanding  of  authority  as  found,  for  instance,  in  the 
writings  of  Jewel  and  in  such  public  legal  documents  as  1  Edward  VI, 
cap.  I.59  His  citations  range  from  a  single  one  (2:153.5)  from  Basil 
the  Great  in  chapter  38,  where  Hooker  defends  the  use  "Oftnusique 
with  psalmes"  to  a  multitude  of  references  to  a  host  of  Fathers  in  those 
chapters  concerning  the  Trinity  and  Christology  (chaps.  51-55),  who 
support  Hooker's  own  theological  conclusions. 

When  the  opponent  appeals  to  the  early  church  for  support  and 
seems  to  find  it,  as  in  the  case  of  "The  sumptuousnes  of  Churches"  (chap. 
15),  Hooker  examines  the  historical  setting  and  explains  away  the 
evidence  by  saying  that  in  a  time  of  persecution  there  could  be  no 
richly  adorned  churches.  A  sense  of  historical  context  is  obviously 
needed  if  the  patristic  sources  are  to  be  rightly  understood  and  used. 
When  Cartwright  argues  a  late  date  for  the  introduction  of  the  litany 
in  the  church  and  states  that  it  was  only  instituted  then  for  a  special 
reason,  Hooker  summons  a  host  of  witnesses  to  show  that  it  evolved 
from  processions  for  the  burial  of  martyrs,  the  formal  litanies  of  the 
Eastern  Church,  and  the  Rogations  of  the  Western  (chap.  41.2).  In 
this  brief  chapter,  consisting  of  four  short  sections,  those  cited  are 
Tertullian,  Jerome,  and  Basil,  the  historians  Socrates,  Sozomen,  and 
Theodoret,  plus  the  Novellae  of  Justinian  and  the  first  Council  of 
Orange  (511  AD).60 

58  But  see  William  P.  Haugaard,  "Renaissance  Patristic  Scholarship  and  Theology 
in  Sixteenth  Century  England,"  Sixteenth  Century  Journal,  10.3  (1979):  37-60,  esp.  57- 

59  Concerning  Jewel  and  the  Fathers,  see  Booty,  John  Jewel  as  Apologist  of  the 
Church  of  England,  pp.  130-137.  The  statute  referred  to  appeals  to  the  tradition  of  the 
first  five  hundred  years  against  more  recent  practice.  See  also  2  and  3  Edw.  VI,  cap. 
1,  the  first  Uniformity  Act,  1549,  which  speaks  of  the  Crown's  directing  certain  men 
to  devise  a  Prayer  Book  "having  as  well  eye  and  respect  to  the  most  sincere  and  pure 
Christian  religion  taught  by  the  Scripture  as  to  the  usages  of  the  primitive  Church." 

60  The  citations  in  chap.  41  are  not  without  problems.  Hooker  interprets  X-ixa- 


Book  V 

Hooker  does  not  always  exercise  the  kind  of  care  in  his  patristic 
references  that  modern  scholars  would  wish,  as  can  be  seen  in  his 
chapters  on  the  Trinity  and  Christology.  Yet  on  these  central  theolog- 
ical issues,  Hooker  was  well  read  in  the  Fathers,  especially  as  regards 
the  credal  affirmations  and  the  conciliar  conclusions  from  Nicaea 
through  Chalcedon  (chap.  54.10).  He  was  determined  to  be  thorough- 
ly orthodox.  He  relied,  however,  quite  heavily  on  Theodoret's  Dialogi 
tres,  itself  containing  three  florilegia  of  patristic  quotations  (see  2:213. 
a.n),  for  some  of  his  patristic  references,  most  likely  deriving  more 
from  Theodoret  than  we  can  now  identify.  At  times  he  notes  the  fact; 
for  instance,  "Gregor.  Nyss.  apud  Theod."  at  2:224/and  "Theodoret. 
ex  Iren.  1.3  adver.  hacres."  at  2:225. h;  at  other  times  he  doesn't.  Bayne 
located  the  quotations  from  Irenaeus  and  Gregory  of  Nyssa  (2:217. f) 
in  Theodoret:  Irenaeus  from  the  first  florilegium,  Gregory  from  the 
second.  In  the  same  note,  Hooker  quotes  Theodoret,  paraphrasing  the 
argument  of  the  second  Dialogue  (Bayne,  p.  241n),  although  there  is 
little  reason  to  believe  that  Hooker  derived  his  basic  argument  from 

In  chapter  54.2  we  have  an  important  statement  concerning  the 
eternal  generation  of  Christ  from  the  Father.  The  section  is  composed 
of  but  four  sentences,  but  seventeen  citations  are  made,  both  biblical 
and  patristic.  It  is  one  of  the  few  places  where  Hooker  piles  up  au- 
thoritative support,  indicating  thereby  the  importance  of  the  subject 
and  the  necessity  of  fortifying  his  conclusions  in  the  face  of  present 
controversy  (for  instance,  the  Lutheran  Ubiquitarians  versus  the  Sac- 
ramentarians;  see  The  Book  of  Concord,  Formula  of  Concord,  Articles  7 
and  8).  Here  he  was  steering  a  careful  path  between  subordinationism, 

veioc  literally  as  meaning  "litany,  procession,  rogation,"  whereas  in  the  Nouellae  and 
in  Basil's  Epist.  63  it  simply  means  services  or  solemn  supplications;  see  novellae  67 
and  122.32,  and  2:\63.j.n. 

There  is  need  for  further  investigation  here.  To  the  extent  that  Theodoret 
stressed  the  completeness  and  the  distinctness  of  the  two  natures  of  Christ  as  united  in 
one  person,  it  would  seem  that  Hooker  was  following  him  (see  chap.  52.4).  But  it 
need  not  be  Theodoret  alone  that  he  was  following.  Furthermore,  it  would  seem  that 
while  Theodoret  rejected  the  doctrine  of  communicatio  idiomatum  ("communion  of  the 
properties"),  Hooker  accepted  it  (see  chap.  53.4;  2:219.8-14). 



which  denigrated  Christ's  divinity,  and  Sabellianism,  which  so  empha- 
sized Christ's  divinity  that  he  seemed  to  be  but  a  temporary  manifes- 
tation of  the  Godhead,  with  the  consequent  denigration  of  his  humanity. 
Thus,  Hooker  argued,  Christ  is  eternally  generated,  not  as  a  gift  "be- 
stowed by  waie  of  beneyolence  and  favor"  (2:221.10),  and  not  by 
Grace,  but  "naturallie  and  eternallie" — and  yet  "Christ  is  God  by 
beinge  of  God,  light  by  issuinge  out  of  light"  (2:221.6-7).  He  is  thus 
subordinate  and  human,  but  he  is  divine,  "God  by  beinge  of  God." 
Hilary  of  Poitiers  is  cited  five  times  in  relation  to  the  carefully  bal- 
anced, two-fold  assertion  (2:221.1-10;  see  nn  to  o,  s,  w,  and  v).  There 
are  two  citations  from  Augustine,  but  both  of  these  seem  to  come 
from  summaries  elsewhere  rather  than  from  the  places  cited  in  De 
Trinitate  (2:221. q,v).  Tertullian's  Contra  Praxean  is  cited  on  the  sub- 
ordinationist  side  of  the  argument  (2:221. o). 

Hooker  may  have  relied  heavily  on  Hilary's  De  Trinitate  in  this  and 
the  surrounding  chapters.  Although  he  cites  Hilary  but  seven  times  in 
Book  V,  five  of  these  citations  are  clustered  here.  Or  the  heavy 
concentration  of  citations  for  so  short  a  section,  along  with  the  diffi- 
culty concerning  the  citations  from  Augustine,  may  suggest  that 
Hooker  was  here  using  a  commonplace  book,  turning  to  "Christ, 
eternal  generation  of — ,"  marking  it  with  a  symbol  in  his  rough  draft, 
and  thus  directing  his  scribe,  Benjamin  Pullen,  or  someone  else  to  set 
down  the  citations  in  this  place.  The  commonplace  book  might  have 
been  Hooker's,  or  it  might  have  belonged  to  someone  else,  such  as 
Jewel  or  Whitgift.  Or  Hooker  may  simply  have  been  particularly  well 
read  in  the  Fathers  on  this  subject  and  in  writing  a  concise  statement 
recalled  pertinent  places  in  Hilary,  Augustine,  Tertullian,  and  else- 
where, on  occasion  summarizing  the  places  quoted  rather  than  quoting 
them  exactly.     We  cannot  finally  tell. 

An  especially  important  example  of  Hooker's  use  of  the  Fathers  is 
found  in  chapter  67.11.  Hooker  has  been  in  the  process  of  establishing 
his  Eucharistic  doctrine,  chiefly  relying  on  Scripture  and  on  the  theo- 
logical debates  on  the  presence  of  Christ  in  the  sacrament  as  they 

Concerning  Jewel's  commonplace  books,  see  Booty,  Jewel  as  Apologist  of  the 
Church  of  England,  pp.  112-117;  for  an  example  of  such  a  book,  Trinity  College,  Dublin, 
MS.  C.1.25;  see  also  Haugaard,  "Renaissance  Patristic  Scholarship,"  pp.  54-56. 


Book  V 

developed  in  the  sixteenth  century.  He  suddenly  inserts  "Touchinge 
the  sentence  of  antiquitie  in  this  cause"  and  gives  a  relatively  brief 
summary  statement  utilizing  numerous  patristic  references,  from 
Irenaeus  to  Pseudo-Eusebius  Emisenus.  In  the  course  of  these  citations 
we  encounter  Theodoret's  Dialogi  tres  and  Cyril  of  Alexandria's  com- 
mentary on  the  Gospel  of  John,  both  important  sources  in  Hooker's 
discussion  of  Christology.  We  also  find  several  references  to  Cyprian's 
De  coena  Domini — in  fact  by  Arnold,  abbot  of  Bonneval  (fl.  1144?),  a 
friend  of  Bernard  of  Clairvaux,  and  not  by  Cyprian.  Hooker  used  the 
work,  a  part  of  Arnold's  larger  De  cardinalibus  Christi  operibus,  in  its 
1593  edition  with  annotations  by  Simon  Goulart  (1542—1628),  the 
Calvinist-humanist  theologian. 

An  analysis  of  section  11  shows  that  Hooker  accepted  Arnold's 
theology  and  relied  upon  Goulart's  annotations,  deriving  at  least  some 
of  his  patristic  references  from  this  source  and  not  from  the  originals. 
Thus  citations  from  Hilary  and  Leo  the  Great  are  taken  from  Gou- 
lart. Hooker  generally  agrees  with  Goulart's  sacramental  doctrine, 
and  both  find  Arnold's  teaching  (they  think  it  Cyprian's)  most  agree- 
able. Indeed,  Hooker  embraces  the  Bernardian  spiritual  mysticism 
expressed  by  Arnold  and  closes  chapter  67  with  the  impassioned 
exclamation  of  the  devout  communicant  taken  directly  (but  without 
acknowledgment)  from  Arnold's  De  coena  Domini. 

While  Hooker  relied  first  upon  Thomas  Cranmer's  teaching  in  his 
controversy  with  Gardiner  (see  pp.  220-223,  below),  he  relied  on 
Arnold  and  Simon  Goulart  for  much  of  his  expression  of  that  teaching 
and  drew  upon  them  in  this  crucial  chapter  for  his  patristic  citations. 
Before  the  Goulart  edition,  Hooker  had  used  Erasmus's  edition,  for  his 
references  to  Cyprian's  epistles  conform  to  those  found  there.  Hook- 
er's theology  of  transformation-in-us  may  thus  have  come  from 
Arnold  as  annotated  by  Goulart,  from  Lutherans  such  as  John  Brentz 
and  Martin  Chemnitz,  from  Calvin's  Contra  Heshusius,  or  from 
Cranmer  and  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  (as  I  suggest  below),  but 

63  See  Cyprian,  Opera  (1593),  pp.  508,  512,  and  nn  to  2:339. b  and  c. 

64  See  2:343.6-12  and  n,  and  compare  Cyprian,  Opera  (1593),  p.  502;  see  also 
Bayne,  pp.  cxv,  386. 

See  Bayne,  p.  cix  and  n.  7.  Here  is  another  subject  needing  further  exploration. 




it  is  not  the  teaching  of  the  early  church  Fathers,  in  whom  there  is  no 
preoccupation  with  nominalism  to  provoke  them  into  long  and 
complex  arguments  concerning  the  mode  of  Christ's  presence.  Rather, 
it  is  the  desire  to  put  an  end  to  controversy  and  argumentation  and  to 
enjoy  the  fruits  of  participation  through  the  Eucharist  that  evokes  the 
patristic  atmosphere  and  ethos. 

Medieval  Sources 

Hooker's  mediated  use  of  patristic  sources  points  to  Hooker's 
essentially  medieval  orientation  and  to  the  influence  on  him  of  his 
contemporaries,  although  this  does  not  altogether  obliterate  the 
heavy  influence  of  the  early  church  on  him  any  more  than  on  his 
medieval  sources.  Neither  of  them  can  be  easily  treated,  for  in  consid- 
ering them  we  depart  from  the  Scriptures  and  the  Fathers,  in  relation 
to  which  Hooker  exercised  considerable  care  in  his  references.  Arnold 
of  Bonneval  is  important  among  Hooker's  medieval  sources,  but  Aqui- 
nas looms  far  larger.  He  is  not  often  cited  directly,  but  his  influence, 
together  with  that  of  Aristotle  behind  him,  is  felt  throughout  Book  V. 
For  instance,  in  chapter  1,  when  dealing  with  the  importance  to  the 
commonwealth  of  religion,  in  chapter  56.1,  when  treating  the  principles 
lying  behind  the  concept  of  "participation,"  and  in  chapter  69.2,  when 
discussing  time  and  the  cosmos,  Aquinas's  Summa  theologiae  is  implied 
throughout.  When  Hooker  refers  to  "the  schoolemen,"  it  is  natural  if 
not  necessary  to  look  to  Aquinas.  Hooker's  discussion  of  the  adora- 
tion of  the  Cross  includes  a  citation  of  Aquinas  (chap.  65.15)  and  a 
paraphrase  of  an  important  passage  in  the  Summa  theologiae  (see 
2:314.£.n).  Chapter  64,  dealing  with  interrogatories  put  to  infants  in 
baptism,  recalls  Aquinas's  discussion  of  the  same  subject.  Hooker 
had  Aquinas  in  mind  far  more  often  than  is  indicated  by  his  own  notes. 

66  E.  C.  Ratcliff,  for  example,  views  Hooker  as  perpetuating  the  medieval 
tradition  concerning  the  rite  of  Confirmation,  rather  than  recovering  the  teachings  of 
the  early  church  Fathers.  See  Liturgical  Studies  (London:  S.P.C.K.,  1976),  p.  118.  A 
similar  case  could  be  made  for  other  rites  treated  in  Book  V. 

67  See  chap.  71.2  (2:371.23),  and  Bayne,  p.  420,  n.  5. 

68  See  S.T.,  3a.68.9,  and  Bayne,  p.  336,  n.  16. 


Book  V 

Another  passage  citing  Aquinas  deserves  attention.  Chapter  58.2  is 
an  important  discussion  of  the  substance  of  a  sacrament.  Aquinas  is 
cited  twice  (2:249. x),  along  with  Isidore  of  Seville  and  Gabriel  Biel,  as 
showing  that  a  sacrament  substantially  conveys  grace,  with  the  ele- 
ments signifying  that  grace.  There  is  some  confusion  in  the  citation, 
Hooker  seemingly  quoting  Gregory  the  Great,  but  actually  quoting 
Isidore  a  second  time,  and  seeming  to  quote  William  of  Ockham  from 
his  Sentences,  but  quoting  him  as  found  in  Biel.  Once  more  we  may 
question  the  actual  or  proximate  source  of  Hooker's  references.  The 
quotation  from  "Th.  2ae.  1.  q.101.4  et  q.102.5"  is  actually  from  the 
index  to  the  Summa  theologiae.  Thus  Hooker  looked  there  to  find 
the  definition  for  sacramentum,  proceeding  no  further,  and  recorded  the 
references  alongside  the  word  in  the  index  without  quoting  the  text  at 
all.  There  is  no  dishonesty  indicated  by  this,  only  haste  and  perhaps  a 
rather  off-handed  regard  for  the  citation.  There  is  also  the  possibility 
that  Hooker  was  once  more  operating  out  of  a  common-place  book 
made  by  someone  else.  He  knew  what  constituted  a  sacrament  and 
found  a  perfectly  adequate  description  in  the  confessions  of  the  Re- 
formed churches,  cited  in  the  same  note.  His  own  view  is  stated  in  the 
First  Helvetic  Confession  (1536),  chapter  20,  and  the  Second  Helvetic 
Confession  (1566),  chapter  19,  and  the  patristic  and  medieval  cita- 
tions are  provided  to  indicate  that  the  view  he  holds  is  one  to  which 
there  had  been  universal  adherence  through  the  ages.  Aquinas  is  not  of 
consequence  here  beyond  the  support  he  can  give  to  a  position  already 
occupied  by  Hooker. 

Other  references  to  medieval  sources  are  sparse  in  Book  V,  given  its 
considerable  length,  and  are  not  of  great  significance.  Hugh  of  St. 
Victor's  De  sacramentis  is  cited  in  chapter  48.9  (2:196.^)  by  means  of  a 
paraphrase  most  likely  derived  from  another  source,  and  in  chapters 
57.5  (2:247.i;),  60.2  (2:255./),  and  60.4  (2:257.a)  in  relation  to  the 
definition  of  the  sacraments.  Bernard  of  Clairvaux's  epistle  to  Hugh  of 
St.  Victor  is  cited  concerning  the  necessity  of  the  sacraments  and  of 
Baptism  in  particular  (2:257. w).   Nicholas  of  Lyra,   the   Franciscan 

69  See  2:249.x.5-6  and  n. 

See  Arthur  C.  Cochrane,  Reformed  Confessions  of  the  Sixteenth  Century  (Philadel- 
phia: Westminster  Press,  1966),  pp.  107,  277-281. 



biblical  scholar,  is  cited  concerning  the  apocryphal  books  of  the  Bible 
(2:80. k)  and  the  word  "moraliter"  in  the  Vulgate  version  of  the 
blessing  of  Joseph  (45.2;  2:183.  n).  Walafrid  Strabo,  the  ninth-century 
abbot  of  Reichenau,  is  also  cited  concerning  the  Apocrypha  (20.6; 
2:80.fe).  Appeal  is  made  to  Rupert  of  Deutz's  De  diuinis  officiis  for 
support  in  the  definition  of  a  "catechumen"  (18.3;  2:67. p)  and  in 
Hooker's  treatment  of  preaching  (21.4;  2:86.  u).  As  might  be  expected, 
William  of  Durandus's  Rationale  divinorum  officiorum  is  cited  when 
Hooker  is  writing  on  the  consecration  of  churches  (12.1;  2:50. n)  as  is 
Rabanus  Maurus's  De  clericorum  institutione  on  church  music  (38.3; 
2:158.7—14).  One  might  add  the  references  to  canon  law,  medieval 
Jewish  sources,  lexicons  and  the  like,  but  the  impression  would  be  the 
same:  with  the  exception  of  Aquinas,  Hooker's  sources  do  not  reveal 
any  great  influence  from  writers  of  the  middle  ages. 

Contemporary  Sources 

Hooker's  references  to  his  contemporaries  in  England  and  on  the 
continent  are  even  more  difficult  to  treat.  Citations  of  continental 
Reformers  are  sparse  in  Book  V,  and  at  places  where  it  would  seem 
that  they  might  have  been  quoted  profitably,  they  do  not  appear.  This 
is  not  because  Hooker  regarded  them  as  unimportant.  Rather,  he  did 
not  feel  the  need  to  refer  to  them  as  authorities  relevant  to  the  defense 
of  English  practice.  Scripture,  the  Fathers,  and  the  councils  of  the  early 
church  were  the  authorities  with  which  he  was  most  concerned,  for 
they  were  the  authorities  recognized  as  well  by  the  Puritans.  It  seems 
reasonable  to  suppose  that,  along  with  the  various  writings  of  conti- 
nental Protestant  and  Reformed  divines,  Hooker  had  by  his  side,  as  he 
wrote,  such  works  as  the  Harmonia  confessionum  jidei,  as  well  as 
liturgical  books  produced  by  Lutherans,  Calvinists,  and  others. 

Even  less  explicit  but  more  important  was  an  indigenous  English 
tradition,  beginning  with  Cranmer  and  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer 
and  extending  through  Jewel  to  Cooper  and  Whitgift  and  Bridges. 
Bayne  emphasized  Hooker's  agreement  with  Cranmer  and  Jewel  on 

71  See  nn  to  2:81. m,  249.x,  249.y,  and  255.0. 


Book  V 

Eucharistic  doctrine  and  discounted  the  influence  of  Saravia.  Cer- 
tainly a  thorough  and  careful  reading  of  Cranmer's  An  Answer  . . .  unto 
a  Crafty  Cavillation  (1551;  STC  5991),  his  important  defense  of  the  first 
Prayer  Book  against  Stephen  Gardiner,  supports  Bayne. 

Hooker  emphasizes  the  general  agreement  on  the  purpose  of  the 
Eucharist  even  amongst  those  who  disagree  concerning  the  mode  of 
Christ's  presence.  Cranmer  said  to  Gardiner:  "if  there  be  any  differ- 
ence between  us  two,  it  is  but  a  little,"  and  he  argued  that  the  basic 
doctrine,  which  is  not  dependent  upon  complex  theological  or  philo- 
sophical arguments,  is  sufficient.  Hooker  argued  that  the  real  pres- 
ence "is  not  ...  to  be  sought  for  in  the  sacrament,  but  in  the  worthie 
receiver  of  the  sacrament."  Cranmer  asserted  that  in  the  sacrament 
Christ  "is  effectually  present  and  effectually  worketh  not  in  the  bread 
and  wine,  but  in  the  godly  receivers  of  them,  to  whom  he  giveth  his 
own  flesh."  Hooker  explained  that  the  bread  and  wine  "are  his 
boodie  and  blood  for  that  they  are  so  to  us  who  receivinge  them 
receive  that  by  them  which  they  are  termed."  Cranmer  wrote  that 
the  bread  and  wine 

represent  the  very  body  and  blood  of  Christ,  and  the  holy  food 
and  nourishment  which  we  have  by  him.  And  so  they  be  called 
by  the  names  of  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ,  as  the  sign,  token, 

Pp.  cvii-cxx  and  n.  39. 

I  read  Cranmer's  work  against  Gardiner  rather  differendy  from  scholars  who 
concentrate  on  the  medieval  disputes  concerning  presence  and  sacrifice  in  the  Mass; 
see,  for  example,  Cyril  C.  Richardson,  "Cranmer  and  the  Analysis  of  Eucharistic 
Doctrine,"  Journal  of  Theological  Studies,  n.s.,  16.2  (Oct.  1965):  421-437.  From  the 
perspective  of  Hooker's  Book  V,  certain  emphases  emerge  in  Cranmer  as  rather  more 
important  than  has  heretofore  been  acknowledged.  The  entirety  of  chaps.  8—16  of 
Cranmer's  first  book  in  his  Writings  and  Disputations  .  .  .  Relative  to  the  Sacrament  of  the 
Lord's  Supper,  PS  (Cambridge,  1844),  pp.  38—44,  should  be  compared  with  Hooker's 
chap.  67. 

74  See  chap.  67.2  (2:331.20-27);  also  67.3-4  and  67.6  (2:335.20-30). 

Cranmer,  Writings  and  Disputations,  p.  91;  see  also  pp.  16-17,  53,  127,  and  283. 
76  Chap.  67.6  (2:334.31-32);  and  see  67.7  (2:336.7-9)  and  67.11  (2:339.7-8). 

Cranmer,  Writings  and  Disputations,  pp.  34—35;  and  see  pp.  11,  47,  53,  54,  55, 
57,  70-71,  72,  139,  173,  203,  250,  271,  341. 

78  Chap.  67.5  (2:334.15-17);  and  see  50.3  (2:208)  and  67.11  (2:338.16-339.3). 


and  figure  is  called  by  the  name  of  the  very  thing  which  it 


sheweth  and  signifieth. 

Hooker  is  careful  to  say  that  the  sacraments  "reallie  exhibit,  but  for 
ought  wee  can  gather  out  of  that  which  is  written  of  them  they  are 
not  reallie  nor  do  reallie  conteine  in  them  selves  that  grace  which  with 


them  or  by  them  it  pleaseth  God  to  bestowe."  In  a  famous  state- 
ment, Cranmer  says: 

the  sacraments  of  Christ's  flesh  and  blood  be  called  his  flesh  and 
blood,  and  yet  in  deed  they  be  not  his  flesh  and  blood,  but  the 
sacraments  thereof,  signifying  unto  godly  receivers,  that  as  they 
corporally  feed  of  the  bread  and  wine  (which  comfort  their  hearts 
and  continue  this  corruptible  life  for  a  season)  so  spiritually  they 
feed  of  Christ's  very  flesh,  and  drink  his  very  blood.  And  we  be 
in  such  sort  united  unto  him,  that  his  flesh  is  made  our  flesh,  his 
holy  Spirit  uniting  him  and  us  so  together,  that  we  be  flesh  of  his 
flesh,  and  bone  of  his  bones,  and  make  all  one  mystical  body, 


whereof  he  is  the  head  and  we  the  members. 

Hooker's  doctrine  of  participation,  central  to  his  understanding  of 
the  Eucharist,  is  central  to  Cranmer's  teaching  as  well,  which  is 
based,  as  is  Hooker's,  on  the  exegesis  of  1  Cor.  10:16  and  on  John  6 
as  interpreted  by  Cyril  of  Alexandria.  Indeed,  Hooker  may  very 
well  have  discovered  the  value  of  Theodoret's  Dialogi  tres  and  Cyril's 

79  Cranmer,  Writings  and  Disputations,  p.  178;  and  see  pp.  15,  60,  64,  123,  136, 
304.  Note  the  doctrine  of  "use"  on  pp.  177  and  180. 

80  V.67.6  (2:335.7-10);  and  see  50.3  (2:208),  57.3  (2:245.31-246.2),  58.2 
(2:248.31-250.3),  and  67.11  (2:338.17-339.8). 

Cranmer,  Writings  and  Disputations,  p.  150;  and  see  pp.  148,  219,  and  257. 

82  See  chaps.  67.5  (2:334.17-21),  67.7  (2:335.33-336.2),  67.9  (2:337.5-7),  67.12 

83  On  1  Cor.  10,  see  Cranmer,  Writings  and  Disputations,  p.  242;  on  John  6,  see 
pp.  307-308;  and  on  "communion,"  where  Cranmer  relies  heavily  on  Hilary  of 
Poitiers  (De  Trinitate,  chap.  8)  and  then  on  Cyril  of  Alexandria's  commentary  on  John, 
see  pp.  160-172. 


Book  V 

commentary  on  the  Gospel  of  John  from  reading  Cranmer,84  result- 
ing in  a  substantial  but  undocumented  debt. 

iv.  Hooker  and  Liturgical  Tradition 

Sixteenth- Century  England 

In  Book  V  Hooker  is  defending  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer,  not 
as  it  was  used  in  the  late  sixteenth  century,  but  rather  as  Cranmer  had 
intended  it  to  be  used.  On  an  ordinary  Sunday  morning,  worship  in 
the  Church  of  England  normally  consisted  of  Morning  Prayer,  the 
Litany,  and  Ante-Communion  (that  is,  the  first  part  of  the  Holy 
Communion,  anciently  designated  the  Pro-Anaphora),  stopping  short 
of  the  Sursum  Corda,  the  Eucharistic  Prayer,  and  the  Communion  of 
priest  and  people.  If  there  were  cause,  Baptism  would  occur  after 
the  last  lesson  at  Morning  Prayer  (B.C. P.,  1559,  p.  270).  However, 
the  Prayer  Book  assumed  that  the  entire  service  of  Holy  Communion 
would  be  used  every  Sunday,  and  provided  propers  (Collects,  Epistles, 
and  Gospels)  for  every  Sunday,  as  well  as  for  other  holy  days  (B.C. P., 
1559,  pp.  77—246).  Why  then  the  deviation?  Partly  because  many  had 
long  been  reluctant  to  receive  the  bread  and  wine,  believing  them  to 
be  transmuted  into  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ,  fearing  that  in  re- 
ceiving them  unworthily  they  would  be  forever  damned.  This  attitude 
is  illuminated  by  the  many  exhortations,  homilies,  and  sermons  of  the 

For  Cranmer's  lengthy  citation  of  Theodoret,  including  passages  cited  by 
Hooker,  see  Writings  and  Disputations,  pp.  127-132;  see  also  pp.  299-301.  For  Cyril, 
see  previous  note.  See  also  De  coena  Domini,  attributed  by  Cranmer  and  Hooker  to 
Cyprian,  cited  on  pp.  308-312;  the  passages  cited  by  Hooker  are  on  p.  311,  nn.  1,  2 
(compare  67.11;  2:339. a,b,c).  A  more  detailed  comparison  of  passages  cited  by  both 
men  is  warranted. 

The  same  sort  of  study  could  be  made  with  reference  to  Hooker  and  Jewel;  see 
Bayne,  pp.  cxii-cxiii  and  n.  17. 

See  William  Harrison,  The  Description  of  England,  ed.  Georges  Edelen,  Folger 
Documents  of  Tudor  and  Stuart  Civilization,  14  (Ithaca:  Cornell  University  Press, 
1968),  pp.  33-34,  and  Booty,  ed.,  The  Godly  Kingdom  of  Tudor  England  (Wilton, 
Conn.:  Morehouse-Barlow,  1981),  p.  179. 



time  urging  people  to  come  to  Holy  Communion  to  receive  the 
sacrament.  Thomas  Cooper  (1520?— 1594),  bishop  of  Lincoln,  who 
highly  esteemed  the  Lord's  Supper  and  urged  careful  preparation  for 
participation  in  it,  also  warned  against  too  stringent  a  self-examination, 
concluding,  "We  may  not  . . .  for  our  weakness  and  imperfection 
despair  or  refuse  the  comfort  of  that  heavenly  table."  That  Cooper 
and  others  felt  the  need  to  speak  strongly  on  this  matter  indicates  the 
nature  of  the  problem. 

Such  reluctance  was  buttressed  by  the  Calvinist-Puritan  emphasis  on 
the  Word  and  by  strong  objections  to  what  many  viewed  as  papist 
superstitions  associated  with  the  sacrament.  Here  was  another  reason 
for  displacing  a  full  communion  service  with  what  Harrison  reported 
some  derisively  called  Ante-Communion,  the  "dry  communion." 
In  the  end,  with  the  disuse  of  the  Holy  Communion  there  had  to  be 
a  requirement  that  the  sacrament  be  celebrated  and  received  by  all 


people  on  three  Sundays  during  the  year,  one  of  them  Easter  Day. 
The  legal  enforcement  of  this  rule  indicated  to  the  faithful  that  they 
must  communicate  at  least  three  times  a  year,  but  others  were  bound 
to  interpret  that  requirement  as  at  most  three  times. 
In  his  second  sermon  on  Jude,  Hooker  says: 

Blessed  and  praised  for  ever  and  ever  be  his  name,  who  per- 
ceiving of  how  senselesse  and  heavy  mettall  we  are  made,  hath 
instituted  in  his  Church  a  spirituall  supper,  and  an  holy  commun- 
ion, to  be  celebrated  often,  that  we  might  thereby  bee  occasioned 
often  to  examine  [ourselves]  ....(§  10;  5:42.15—19;  my  emphasis) 

He  recognized  that  the  end  or  purpose  of  the  sacrament  was  in  the 
very  thing  which  many  resisted,  that  is,  their  transformation  through 
repentance  and  forgiveness,  for  "God  doth  not  dwell  in  Temples 
which  are  uncleane"  (5:42.20).  But  he  also  understood  that  the  sacra- 

Cited  in  Booty,  "Preparation  for  the  Lord's  Supper  in  Elizabethan  England," 
Anglican  Theological  Review,  49.2  (April  1967):  131-148. 

Harrison,  Description  of  England,  p.  34. 
89  B.C. P.,   1559,  p.  268.  See  Frere,  ed.,   Visitation  Articles  and  Injunctions,  3:275, 
287,  307,  337.  In  Bentham's  Injunctions  for  Coventry  and  Lichfield  (1565),  it  was 
"four  times  in  the  year"  (3:167). 


Book  V 

ment,  encompassing  in  the  liturgy  the  precedent  ministry  of  the  Word, 
could  bring  people  to  repentance  and  forgiveness,  cleansing  and  em- 
powering them.  He  spoke  eloquently  of  receiving  the  bread  and  wine: 

Is  not  Manna  like  to  gall,  and  our  bread  like  to  Manna?  Is  there 
not  a  tast,  a  tast  of  Christ  Jesus  in  the  hart  of  him  that  eateth? 
Doth  not  hee  which  drinketh,  behold  plainely  in  this  cup,  that 
his  soul  is  bathed  in  the  blood  of  the  lambe?  (5:43.14—17) 

The  Holy  Communion  was  meant  to  be  celebrated  not  occasionally, 
but  often.  In  this  view,  the  legal  three  times  a  year  would  not  be 
considered  "often."  The  ideal  was  to  be  found  in  the  weekly  cele- 
bration as  expected  by  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer.  And  the  funda- 
mental reason  for  "often"  was  Hooker's  conviction  that  as  Baptism  is 
the  sacrament  of  justification,  so  Holy  Communion  is  the  sacrament  of 
sanctification,  the  means  for  our  "increase  in  holines  and  vertue" 
(67.1;  2:331.10),  the  means  of  "reall  participation  of  Christe  and  of  life 
in  his  bodie  and  bloode"  (§  2;  2:331.23-24).  The  "often"  (as  opposed 
to  three  times  a  year)  was  thus  of  utmost  importance,  theologically  and 

Taken  together,  Word  and  Sacrament  composed  the  "standinge 
order"  or  liturgy  of  the  church,  "framed  with  common  advise"  (25.4; 
2:116.11—12).  Here  was  another  important  principle  emphasized  by 
Hooker.  "Framed"  by  people,  the  liturgy  might  vary  from  place  to 
place,  but  its  God-given  essentials  were  the  same  everywhere: 

No  doubt  from  God  it  hath  proceeded  and  by  us  it  must  be 
acknowledged  a  worke  of  his  singular  care  and  providence,  that 
the  Church  hath  evermore  held  a  prescript  forme  of  common 
prayer,  although  not  in  all  thinges  everie  where  the  same,  yeat 
for  the  most  part  reteininge  still  the  same  analogic  So  that  if  the 
liturgies  of  all  ancient  Churches  throughout  the  world  be  com- 
pared amongst  them  selves,  it  may  be  easilie  perceaved  they  had 
all  one  originall  mould,  and  that  the  publique  prayers  of  the 
people  of  God  in  Churches  throughlie  setled  did  never  use  to  be 
voluntarie  dictates  proceedinge  from  any  mans  extemporall  witt. 

Hooker  had  in  mind  here  the  Puritan  prayer  book,  A  Booke  of  the 



Forme  of  Common  Prayer,  and  the  prejudice  of  many  against  the  use 
of  set  forms  of  prayers.  He  also  had  in  mind  the  long  history  of  the 
liturgy,  insofar  as  it  was  then  known  and  understood.  While  liturgies 
varied  and  liturgists  in  the  sixteenth  century  were  fully  aware  of 
differing  liturgies  in  East  and  West,  as  well  as  of  differing  "uses"  of  the 
Roman  rite  in  England  and  elsewhere,  there  was  the  strong  conviction 
that  there  existed  what  in  later  times  would  be  called  a  common  shape 
of  the  liturgy,  involving  Word  and  Sacrament,  persisting  through  the 
ages.  Along  with  Cranmer,  Hooker  was  dedicated  to  the  preservation 
of  continuity  with  that  liturgical  tradition  which  he  regarded  as  God- 
given,  framed  with  common  counsel  by  godly  men  and  authoritatively 
prescribed  for  public  use,  not  only  because  it  was  the  law  that  he 
defended,  but  because  the  liturgical  tradition  down  through  the  ages 
had  been  proven  efficacious  for  the  accomplishment  of  God's  purposes 
in  the  world.  The  worship  of  God,  said  Hooker,  is  a  "holie  and 
religious  dutie"  (24.1;  2:111.24).  But  there  is  more  to  it  than  that: 

A  great  parte  of  the  cause,  wherefore  religious  mindes  are  so 
inflamed  with  the  love  of  publique  devotion,  is  that  vertue,  force 
and  efficacie,  which  by  experience  they  finde  that  the  verie 
forme  and  reverende  solemnitie  of  common  prayer  dulie  ordered 
hath,  to  help  that  imbecillitie  and  weakenes  in  us,  by  meanes 
whereof  we  are  otherwise  of  our  selves  the  lesse  apt  to  performe 
unto  God  so  heavenlie  a  service,  with  such  affection  of  harte,  and 
disposition  in  the  powers  of  our  soules  as  is  requisite.  (25.1; 

Hooker  thus  defends  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  as  it  is  given  and 
framed  for  the  Church  in  England,  not  as  it  was  commonly  used.  He 
emphasizes  both  Word  and  Sacrament,  but  in  this  book  especially  the 
sacraments  of  Baptism  and  the  Eucharist.  He  focuses  on  the  Eucharist 
because  it  is  the  center  of  the  church's  weekly  worship  of  God.  The 
same  was  true  of  early  Christian  worship,  as  we  find  it  described  in 

90  London:  R.  Waldegrave,  [1585?];  STC  16567. 

91  See  Horton  Davies,  Worship  and  Theology  in  England,  from  Cranmer  to  Hooker,  p. 
220,  and  Worship  of  the  English  Puritans  (Westminster,  1948). 


Book  V 

Justin  Martyr's  First  Apology.  There  were  readings  from  the  Old  and 
New  Testaments  and  a  homily  given  by  the  person  presiding,  the 
"president,"  as  preparation  for  the  Eucharist  proper.  Subsequently,  in 
imitation  of  the  Sabbath  morning  service  in  the  synagogue,  there  was 
prayer  as  well.  The  Eucharist,  at  first  a  part  of  a  meal,  early  developed 
as  a  separate  liturgy,  with  the  offering  of  bread  and  wine,  a  prayer  of 
thanksgiving  over  bread  and  wine,  the  breaking  of  the  bread  for 
distribution,  and  the  communion  or  distribution  of  bread  and  wine. 
The  Book  of  Common  Prayer  as  Hooker  knew  it  preserved  this 
ancient  tradition  of  Word  and  Sacrament,  but  with  elaboration,  such 
as  the  conjoining  on  Sunday  morning  of  Morning  Prayer,  Litany,  and 
the  Eucharist  (both  the  ministry  of  the  Word  and  the  Eucharist  perse), 
resulting  in  a  greater  emphasis,  at  least  in  terms  of  time  spent,  on  the 
ministry  of  Word  than  was  the  case  in  the  liturgical  tradition  rooted  in 
the  early  church.  Hooker  did  not  dispute  this  order.  Indeed,  Book  V 
follows  it,  as  we  have  seen.  What  he  wrote  and  the  way  in  which  he 
allotted  space  emphasizes  the  unit,  Word-and-Sacrament,  as  together 
essential,  not  because  of  their  centrality  in  liturgical  tradition  but 
because  of  their  theological  meaning  and  practical  efficacy. 

During  the  eighteenth  and  nineteenth  centuries  the  Evangelicals  in 
England  and  America  followed  the  continental  Reformers  and  English 
Puritans  in  emphasizing  the  Word  as  preached,  although  a  promi- 
nent Evangelical  such  as  Charles  Simeon  could  express  a  profound 
appreciation  for  the  Prayer  Book  as  a  whole  and  for  the  sacraments  in 


particular.  In  the  nineteenth  century  the  Tractarians  and  their 
successors,  the  Anglo-Catholics  and  Ritualists,  emphasized  the  sacra- 
mental life  and  Eucharistic  piety,     although  some  of  their  adherents, 

Cited  in  chap.  20.1  (2:73. e)  as  the  Second  Apology,  see  n. 

See  Josef  A.  Jungmann,  S.  J.,  The  Early  Liturgy,  to  the  Time  of  Gregory  the  Great, 
Liturgical  Studies,  6  (South  Bend:  University  of  Notre  Dame  Press,  1956),  pp.  33, 


See  Horton  Davies,  Worship  and  Theology  in  England,  From  Watts  and  Wesley  to 
Maurice,  1690-1850  (Princeton:  Princeton  University  Press,  1961),  p.  227.  See  also 
Walter  Russell  Bowie,  "Evangelicals  and  Preaching,"  Anglican  Evangelicalism,  ed.  A.  C. 
Zabriskie  (Philadelphia,  1943);  pp.  203-213. 

95  See  Davies,  Worship  and  Theology  .  .  .   1690-1850,  pp.  217-218,  and  Charles 
Simeon,  The  Excellency  of  the  Liturgy  (New  York,  1813). 

96  See  Davies,  Worship  and  Theology  .  .  .  1690-1850,  p.  266.  See  also,  E.  B.  Pusey, 



such  as  J.  H.  Newman  and  Richard  Church,  were  also  remarkable 


preachers.     Furthermore,  a  Tractarian  such  as  John  Keble  was  pro- 


foundly  impressed  by  Hooker's  strong  sacramental  doctrine,  which 
Robert  Isaac  Wilberforce  hailed  for  its  emphasis  on  "a  true  and  a  real 
participation  of  Christ,  who  thereby  imparteth  Himself,  even  His 
whole  entire  Person,  as  a  mystical  head  unto  every  soul  that  receiveth 
Him.""  In  part  it  was  through  the  Tractarian  and  Anglo-Catholic 
recovery  of  the  sacramental  teachings  of  Hooker  and  of  the  Caroline 
divines  that  the  English  church  began  in  the  nineteenth  century  to 
re-emphasize  Sacrament  as  well  as  Word  and  so  approach  the  holistic 
understanding  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  that  Hooker  had 
promoted  in  Book  V. 

The  Modem  Liturgical  Movement 

Hooker's  emphasis  on  Word  and  Sacrament  is  also  found  in  the 
modern  liturgical  movement,  which,  as  Horton  Davies  describes  it, 
insists  upon  the  centrality  of  the  "Eucharistic  rite  (as  both  Revelation 
and  response  in  which  the  Sacrament  of  the  Word  is  linked  with  the 
Sacrament  of  the  Holy  Communion)."  Its  success  is  to  be  gauged 
in  part  by  the  number  of  congregations  that  have  changed  from 
Sunday  preaching  services  to  Sunday  Eucharists,  incorporating  the 
ministry  of  the  Word  but  emphasizing  the  Sacrament.  Another  princi- 
ple of  the  modern  liturgical  movement  has  concerned  the  realization 
of  Eucharistic  worship  as  truly  corporate.  Davies  cites  Gabriel  Hebert 
as  teaching  that  now,  as  a  result  of  the  liturgical  revival,  Christianity 
has  come  to  be  viewed 

The  Doctrine  of  the  Real  Presence  (London,  1855),  and  John  Keble,  On  Eucharistical 
Adoration  (Oxford,  1867). 

97  See  Newman's  Fifteen  Sermons  Preached  before  the  University  of  Oxford  (London, 
1843)  and  Church's  Pascal  and  Other  Sermons  (London,  1895). 
Keble,  l:xcv-xcvi. 

99  The  Doctrine  of  the  Incarnation   (Philadelphia,    1849),   p.   342,   citing  V.67.7 

100  Worship  and  Theology  in  England:   The  Ecumenical  Century  (Princeton:  The 
University  Press,  1965),  pp.  13-14. 


Book  V 

"as  a  way  of  life  for  the  worshipping  community,"  ...  a  corpo- 
rate renewal  of  faith  (through  the  theology  proclaimed  in  Sermon 
and  Sacrament),  of  commitment  and  consecration  (through  the 

Offertory),  and  an  incentive  to  serve  and  transform  the  fragment- 

j        •  .,   101 
ed  society. 

The  understanding  of  liturgy  as  truly  corporate,  intended  not  only  for 
the  transformation  of  individuals  but  of  society  as  well,  was  held  by 
Cranmer  and  by  Hooker.  Both  men  emphasized  the  Eucharistic  liturgy 
with  its  corporate  nature  and  impact  because  both  looked  back  to  the 
roots  of  the  liturgical  tradition  in  the  early  church,  deriving  their 
inspiration  from  its  source,  working  on  details  in  form  and  matter  in 
relation  to  the  roots  and  to  the  exigencies  of  the  times  in  which  they 
lived  and  worked.  Peter  Lake  has  even  argued  that  by  changing  the 
focus  of  the  Elizabethan  church  from  predestination  to  "the  sacrament 

and  prayer-centered  piety  set  out  in  the  Polity"  Hooker  "invented" 

a      t  102 


It  was  through  his  defense  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer,  then, 
that  Hooker  contributed  toward  the  formation  of  a  distinctive  Angli- 
can religious  perspective.  John  Barton  and  John  Halliburton  have 
pointed  out  the  ways  in  which  the  "sacred  story"  in  Scripture,  which 
is  the  basis  of  Christian  doctrine,  is  viewed  in  Anglican  tradition 
primarily  in  the  context  of  the  liturgy.  It  is  regarded  as  integral  to 
worship  and  is  read  and  heard  doxologically,  only  secondarily  as  matter 
for  study  and  edification.  They  point  to  two  places  in  Hooker's  Book 
V.  First,  contrasting  the  Prayer  Book's  use  of  Scripture  with  the 
Puritans'  use,  Hooker  wrote: 

For  with  us  the  readinge  of  scripture  in  the  Church  is  a  parte  of 
our  Church  litourgie,  a  speciall  portion  of  the  service  which  we 
doe  to  God,  and  not  an  exercise  to  spend  the  time,  when  one 

Davis,  The  Ecumenical  Century,  p.  40. 

Anglicans  and  Puritans?  (1986),  pp.  196,  227.  It  is  not  necessary  to  go  as  far  as 
Lake  does  to  realize  how  influential  Hooker  was;  see  "Hooker  and  Anglicanism," 
S.R.H.  (1972),  pp.  207-239;  also,  the  editions  of  Book  V  by  Dobson  (1825), 
Hanbury  (1830),  Keble  (1836),  Paget  (1888),  and  Bayne  (1902),  listed  in  S.R.H.,  pp. 



doth  waite  for  an  others  comminge,  till  thassemblie  of  them  that 
shall  afterwardes  worship  him  be  complete.  (19.5;  2:71.14—19; 
my  emphasis) 

Second,  referring  to  the  antiphonal  reading  of  psalms,  to  which  the 
Puritans  objected,  Hooker  wrote:  "these  interlocutorie  formes  of 
speech  what  are  they  els  but  most  efFectuall  partlie  testifications  and 
partlie  inflammations  of  all  pietie?"  (39.1;  2:155.17—19).  Barton  and 
Halliburton  point  specifically  to  Hooker's  reference  to  the  reading  of 
Scripture  in  the  liturgy  as  something  done  "to  God."  Here  "the 
congregation  is  seen  as  reading  with  the  reader,  and  using  the  scrip- 
tural text  as  a  vehicle  for  presenting  its  praises  to  God."  They  con- 

So,  in  the  system  enshrined  in  the  Prayer  Book,  . . .  the  Church 
reads  over  the  Scriptures  in  order  to  tell  God  its  'story',  to  go 
over  its  formative  years  with  him  anew,  to  proclaim  in  his  pres- 
ence the  salvation  it  has  experienced.  The  accidents  of  the  Eliza- 
bethan settlement  throw  up  an  approach  to  the  Bible  which  sees  it 
contextualized  in  liturgy,  functioning  as  a  focus  for  the  Church's 
corporate  belief  not  just  by  being  an  external  norm  of  faith  but 
by  being  itself  a  form  of  prayer,  a  text  by  which  the  worshipping 
community  praises  God. 

We  are  dealing  here,  however,  with  more  than  the  Bible  in  a  liturgical 
context.  We  are  also  dealing  with  doctrine,  recognizing  that  Hooker's 
most  serious,  extended  treatment  of  the  Incarnation  is  in  chapters  51— 
55,  preparatory  to  a  detailed  treatment  of  the  sacraments.  This  central 
doctrine  concerning  Christ  is  understood  in  a  liturgical  context,  for 
which  chapter  56  is  a  most  important  witness.  Stephen  Sykes  writes  of 
the  doctrine  of  the  Incarnation  as  central  in  the  life  of  the  church: 
"the  ethos  of  the  Anglican  communion  is  substantially  determined  by 
what  is  both  explicitly  professed  and  implicitly  reinforced  in  its  liturgical 

"Story  and  Liturgy,"  Believing  in  the  Church:  The  Corporate  Nature  of  Faith,  A 
Report  of  the  Doctrine  Commission  of  the  Church  of  England  (Wilton,  Conn.: 
Morehouse-Barlow,  1981),  pp.  98,  99. 


Book  V 

practice.   Liturgy  is  the  matrix  in  which  Anglicans  are  taught  the 
Christian  faith." 

When  Hooker  says  that  "beliefe  consisteth  not  so  much  in  knowl- 
edg  as  in  acknowledgment  of  all  thinges  that  heavenlie  wisdome 
revealeth"  (63.1;  2:290.28—30),  he  is  not  disparaging  the  pursuit  of 
learning.  Rather,  he  is  affirming  that  saving  truth  requires  "acknowl- 
edgment" prior  to  "knowledg."  It  is  in  the  context  of  liturgy  that 
"heavenlie  wisdome"  is  revealed,  and  it  is  in  the  same  context  that  the 
faithful  are  enabled  to  acknowledge  the  saving  truth.  Hooker  then 
must  be  recognized  as  a  major  contributor  to  a  tradition  in  which  a 
people,  in  engagement  with  one  another  in  common  worship, 
through  liturgy  both  rooted  in  tradition  and  responsive  to  the  present, 
find  what  they  need  inwardly  and  outwardly,  spiritually  and  social- 

,      105 

"The  Incarnation  as  the  Foundation  of  the  Church,"  Incarnation  and  Myth:  The 
Debate  Continued,  ed.  Michael  Goulder  (Grand  Rapids:  William  B.  Eerdmans  Publish- 
ing Co.,  1979),  p.  119. 

Note:  the  description  of  the  book  by  units  of  more  than  one  chapter  is  given 
in  the  Commentary  at  the  appropriate  places. 


De  Adbonibra.  FoLioy* 

beat coertionem,qu6d  fi  iuditium  fuum  executioni  dcmandare  no  poP 
Jet  fie  effentiuditia  deluforia.  Non  enim  habetordinarius  iurifdidrione 
&  executionem  in  omni  caufa,cum  iura  fint  feperata  &limitata  if]"  5^  Sur 
enim  caufo  fpirituales  >  in  quibus  iudexfecularis  non  habet  cognitione 
neeexecimonem,cumnonhabeatcoertionem.  In  hij$  enim  caufis  per-- 
tinet  cognitio  ad  iudicts  ecclefiafticos ,  qui  regunt  &.  defenduntfacer- 
dotium.  S  unt  autem  caufa:  feculares  quarum  cognitio.  pertinet  ad  reges 
&  piincipes,qui  dcfenduntregnum,ec  dequibus  iudices  ecclefiaftici  fe> 
intromittere  non  debent ,  cam  eoram iura  fiue  iurifdi&iones  limitata? 
funt&  fepcrata?>nifi  ita  fit  quod  gladius  iuuare  debeat  gladium,  eft  enim 
magna  differentia  inter  facerdotium  &  regrium* 

i  GDcreriwirie  ittrifdiBionis  qU'<t  pertttffltadregnum.  i.  Dcjkcramento  quod  rex fa- 
an  debet  in  coronation?.  $,  JPd  quod  rex  creatusjit  in  ordinma  iurifdi&ione. 
Caf>.9.  «     '     ''  -  ' 

.  ••.'..  .-(  n1?  ■"..-"..■'•■• 

Cum  autem  de  regimine  /acerdotij  nihil  pertineat  ad  tra&atum  iftfi, 
ideo  videndum  erit  de  i^s  qua?  peftinentad  regnum ,  quis  primo  & 
principalitcr  poflit  e^t  debeat  iudicare .  Et  lciendum  quod  ipfe  Rex 
et  non  alius,  fi  folus  ad  hoc  fuffieere  pdflit.,  cum  ad  hoc  per  virtute  iacra- 
rtienti  tenCatur  aftrictus.  iff  i.  Debet  enim  in  coronatione  fua7  in  nomi- 
ne Ihefu  Chrifti  prxftito  faeramento^hcec  tria  jpmittere  populo  fibi  fub- 
dito .  Inprimis  fe  elTe  pra;cepfc^rumr&  pro  viribus  opem  impenfurum, 
Vtecclefi;edci& omni  populo  Chriftiano  vera  pax,  omni fuo  tempore 
obferuetur.Secund6,vtrapacitatci&  omnes  iniquitates ,  omnibus  gra- 
dibus  interdieat.  Tertio,  vjin  omnibus  iuditijs  a?quitatcm  pracipiat& 
mifericordiam ,  vtindulgeat  eifuammifericordiamclemens  &mifcri-. 
cors  deus,&  vt  per  iuftitiam fuam firma  gaudeant  pace  vniuerfi. ^f  3.  Ad 
hoc  autem  creatus  eft  et  ele&us  ,vt  iuftitiam  faeiatvniuerfis  ,ctytin  eo 
dominiis  fedcar,  et  per  ipfum  fua  iuditia  difcernat ,  et  quod  iufte  iudica- 
ueritfufhtfeat  &  defendat,  quia  fi  non  elTetqui  iuftitiam  faccret,  pax  de 
facili  poflet  exterminari,&  fuperuacuum  eftet  leges  conderc,&  iuftitiam 
faeere,nifi  effct  qui  leges  tueretur.Separare  autem  debet  rex  (cum  fit  dei 
vicarins  in  terra)  ius  ab  iniuria,a?quum  ab  iniquo,vt  omnes  fibi  fubiecti, 
honefte  viuant,et  quod  nullus  alium  lsd&t,  &  quod  vnicuique,quod  fu- 
um  f«erit,feda  contributionereddatur.Potcutia  vcr6  omnes  fibi  fubdi- 
tos  debet  precellerc.  Parcm  autem  habere  non  deber,nec  multo  fortius 
fupcriorem,maxime  in  iuftitia  exhibenda,  vt  dicatur  vere  de  eo,magnus 

3.  "cum  eorum  iura  siuc  iurisdictioncs  liinitatac  sunt  &  seperatae,  . .  ."  (lines  9-10).  The 
De  legibus  et  consuetudinibus  Angliae  attributed  to  Henry  de  Bracton  was  one  of  several 
medieval  legal  sources  drawn  on  in  Hooker's  Autograph  Notes  to  reinvigorate  the  ideal 
of  limited  and  separate  secular  and  ecclesiastical  jurisdictions  in  the  then  current  context 
of  overarching  royal  control.  Folio  107r  of  die  1569  edition  (STC  1352;  reduced). 

The  Three  Last  Books  and 
Hooker's  Autograph  Notes 

Arthur  Stephen  McGrade 

Establishing  the  legitimacy  of  episcopal  and  royal  authority  in  the 
English  church  was  Hooker's  chief  aim  in  the  Lawes,  yet  the  books  in 
which  he  most  directly  pursued  that  aim  have  more  often  been  ig- 
nored or  regarded  with  suspicion  than  hailed  as  a  crowning 
achievement.  In  comparison  with  the  grand  cosmology  of  law  in  Book 
I  or  the  tour  deforce  of  Prayer  Book  commentary  in  Book  V,  Hooker's 
introduction  to  the  problems  of  public  spiritual  discipline  in  the 
opening  chapters  of  Book  VI,  his  vindication  of  the  authority  and 
honor  of  bishops  in  Book  VII,  and  his  defense  of  the  English  crown's 
power  of  ecclesiastical  dominion  in  Book  VIII  have  been  relegated  to 
a  vague  secondary  level  of  significance,  at  best,  or,  at  worst,  cited  as 
evidence  against  their  author's  integrity.  Each  of  the  three  last  books 
poses  textual  and  interpretive  problems  of  its  own.  These  are  discussed 
elsewhere — textual  difficulties  in  the  Textual  Introduction  to  volume 
3  of  this  edition,  issues  of  interpretation  in  the  following  introductions 
and  commentaries  for  individual  books.  The  purpose  of  this  essay  is  to 
review  what  factors  have  obscured  the  significance  of  all  three  books 
and  then  to  indicate  how  their  reconsideration  is  aided  by  the  recent 
discovery  of  a  portion  of  Hooker's  own  notes  for  these  books. 

The  importance  Hooker  attached  to  the  issues  treated  in  the  three 
last  books  is  clear  from  the  opening  paragraph  of  Book  VI.  Here  he 
identifies  the  topics  of  "Jurisdiction,  Dignitie,  Dominion  Ecclesiasticall"  as 
"the  weightiest  and  last  remaines"  of  his  controversy  with  Cartwright, 
Travers,  and  the  disciplinarian  party.  He  admonishes  his  reader  not  to 
imagine  that 

the  bare  and  naked  difference  of  a  few  ceremonies,  could  eyther 
have  kindled  soe  much  fire,  or  have  caused  it  to  flame  soe  long, 



butt  that  the  partyes  which  herein  laboured  mightily  for  chaunge 
and  (as  they  say:)  for  reformation,  had  somewhat  more  then  this 
marke  only,  whereat  to  ayme.  (VI.  1.1;  3:2.16-21) 

The  ulterior  aim,  "many  . . .  have  conjectured,"  was  to  seize  effective 
spiritual  power  for  pastors  in  their  several  congregations.  Even  the 
campaign  for  lay-elders  was  only  a  stratagem  to  enlist  popular  support 
for  this  new  clericalism.  It  would  be  unjust  to  Hooker's  opponents  in 
the  struggle  to  define  a  legitimate  structure  of  authority  for  their 
common  church  to  accept  uncritically  his  imputation  of  self-aggrandiz- 
ing motives,  just  as  it  would  be  unjust  to  his  own  defense  of  the 
worship  and  ministry  of  the  Prayer  Book  to  regard  it  as  concerned 
merely  with  "the  bare  and  naked  difference  of  a  few  ceremonies."  Yet 
Hooker's  emphasis  on  the  gravity  of  the  issues  to  be  decided  in  the 
three  last  books  and  even  his  characterization  of  the  controversy  as  a 
contest  for  power  can  serve  as  a  useful  counterweight  to  the  traditional 
assessment  of  his  work  as,  at  heart  and  at  its  best,  aloof  from  all  parti- 

In  retrospect,  it  is  easy  to  see  how  the  traditional  association  of 
Hooker  primarily  with  the  less  obviously  controversial  parts  of  his 
work  has  been  formed.  It  is  a  product  of  historic  social  change,  the 
quality  of  Hooker's  own  rhetoric,  and  some  serious  misadventures  in 
publication.  The  survey  o£"Lawes,  and  their  severall  kindes  in  generall " 
in  Book  I  is  timeless,  at  least  as  a  literary  classic.  The  religion  of  the 
Prayer  Book  has  endured,  occasionally  flourished,  and  Hooker  remains 
its  greatest  expositor;  hence  Book  V,  too,  remains  of  current  as  well  as 
historical  interest,  at  least  to  unalienated  Anglicans.  But  as  religion  has 
become  increasingly  fragmented  and  private  in  the  modern  world, 
public  concern  with  the  power  of  bishops  and  the  religious  authority 
of  secular  rulers  has  dwindled.  With  regard  to  these  increasingly 
marginal  topics,  furthermore,  Hooker  has  seemed  indistinct  on  the 
first — episcopacy — and  retrograde  on  the  second — the  ecclesiastical 
power  of  princes.  The  impetus  thus  given  to  identifying  Hooker  with 
earlier  parts  of  his  work  is  reinforced  by  his  own  tone  of  calm  assur- 
ance, which  has  contributed  to  the  comfortable  perception  of  him  as 
a  soul  above  the  insults  of  contemporary  polemic  and  disengaged  from 
party  politics.  Finally,  there  is  the  still  mysterious  manuscript  history 


Three  Last  Books  and  Autograph  Notes 

and  belated  publication  of  Books  VI— VIII  to  contend  with.  Hooker 
had  drafted  a  detailed  rebuttal  of  the  case  for  presbyterian  lay-elders  by 
1593,  but  this  is  known  to  us  only  through  comments  on  it  by  two 
of  his  associates.  The  six  chapters  on  "the  virtue  and  discipline  of 
repentance"  published  as  Book  VI  in  1648  have  struck  many  readers 
as  an  irrelevant  surrogate  for  the  lost  draft,  either  inserted  by  Hooker 
himself  or  taken  from  his  other  papers  and  moved  into  the  Lawes  by 
later  possessors  of  his  manuscripts.  A  half-century's  delay  in  publishing 
Hooker's  justifications  of  episcopal  and  royal  authority  in  Books  VII 
and  VIII  left  these  treatises  ideologically  homeless.  By  the  time  they 
appeared,  during  and  just  after  the  Civil  War,  they  could  have  no 
formative  influence  on  the  establishment  Hooker  had  meant  to  defend, 
yet  they  were  too  conservative  to  find  favor  with  dissenters.  Add  to 
this  the  rumor  that  Hooker's  manuscripts  of  all  three  books  had  been 
vandalized  at  his  death,  and  it  is  not  surprising  that  the  remaining  texts 
of  this  final  third  of  the  Lawes,  Hooker's  attempt  to  resolve  what  he 
considered  the  weightiest  issues  of  his  day,  though  included  for  the 
sake  of  scholarly  completeness  in  Keble's  editions  in  the  nineteenth 
century,  were  dropped  from  the  Everyman  reprint  of  Keble  in  1907. 
If  the  combination  of  changes  in  the  relation  of  religion  to  society 
in  the  modern  world,  insensitivity  to  Hooker's  polemical  intent,  and 
accidents  of  publication  explain  the  common  suspicion  or  neglect  of 
the  three  last  books,  a  new  combination  of  circumstances,  scholarship, 
and  texts  now  calls  for  a  new  approach  to  them.  First,  the  modern 
division  of  human  affairs  into  a  public  secular  realm  and  a  multitude  of 
private  religious  and  moral  realms  no  longer  passes  without  question. 
The  Christian  churches  are  less  content  than  previously  to  worship  in 
isolation  from  one  another  and  from  public  life.  Discontent  with  a 
purely  secular  social  order  is  still  more  intense  in  non-Christian  quar- 
ters. Religion,  whether  comforting,  liberal,  prophetic,  or  fanatical,  is 
once  more  a  factor  in  world  affairs.  No  one  can  sanely  doubt  the  value 

See  the  Textual  Introduction  to  Lawes,  VI-VIII  (3:xiii-xxvi). 

On  the  dating  of  this  draft,  see  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  41—43,  above. 

Books  I— V  and  two  tractates  (Of  Justification  and  Certaintie)  were  reprinted  (from 
Keble's  texts)  in  1907  with  an  introduction  by  Ronald  Bayne;  Christopher  Morris 
revised  the  Introduction  in  1954. 



of  toleration,  a  precious  if  accidental  result  of  the  early  modern  wars 
of  religion,  yet  the  stresses  now  felt  from  the  separation  of  public 
policy  from  concern  with  any  spiritual  value  more  specific  than 
personal  freedom  may  give  new  relevance  to  an  author  who  sought  at 
its  onset  to  avoid  precisely  such  separation. 

Corresponding  to  this  trend  of  events  is  a  recent  scholarly  emphasis 
on  Hooker's  engagement  in  partisan  conflict.  His  account  of  the 
Puritan  movement  in  the  Preface  to  the  Lawes,  while  not  unique 
among  Elizabethan  tracts  in  its  attempt  to  discredit  opponents  before 
considering  their  arguments,  is  also  not  a  disinterested  essay  in  social 
history.  Close  reading  of  Books  I— V  shows  that  Hooker  treats  even  the 
loftiest  subjects  in  a  quietly  polemical  fashion.  Thus  it  is  no  longer 
possible  to  consider  him  an  innocent  without  investment  in  the 
political  decisions  of  his  day.  Instead  we  must  ask  how  successful  he 
was  in  reconciling  his  support  for  policies  made  by  others  with  princi- 
pled commitments  of  his  own. 

Biographical  and  textual  research  has  shifted  perception  in  the  same 
direction,  from  the  supposition  that  Hooker  wrote  in  pastoral  seclu- 
sion, troubled  only  by  a  wife  whose  Puritan  friends  would  steal  or 
corrupt  the  manuscripts  of  the  three  last  books  after  his  death,  to  the 
recognition  that  he  worked  for  the  most  part  in  London,  the  center  of 
all  conflict,  in  collaboration  with  well  connected  men  of  affairs,  and 
on  a  schedule  calculated  to  provide  literary  support  for  repressive 
anti-Puritan  legislation  in  the  Parliament  of  1593. 

The  Introductions  and  Commentaries  following  this  essay  present 
Books  VI-VIII  from  the  perspectives  sketched  above.  Of  particular 
significance  for  this  reinterpretation  is  the  discovery  in  1974  at  Trinity 

See  Cargill  Thompson,  "The  Philosopher  of  the  'Politic  Society,'"  in  S.R.H., 
pp.  3-76;  both  introductory  essays  in  An  Abridged  Edition;  Robert  Eccleshall,  Order  and 
Reason  in  Politics:  Theories  of  Absolute  and  Limited  Monarchy  in  Early  Modem  England 
(Oxford:  Oxford  University  Press,  1978),  pp.  126-150,  and  "Richard  Hooker  and  the 
Peculiarities  of  the  English:  The  Reception  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Polity  in  the  Seven- 
teenth and  Eighteenth  Centuries,"  History  of  Political  Thought,  2.1.  (Spring  1981):  63- 
117;  and  Faulkner,  Richard  Hooker  and  the  Politics  of  a  Christian  England.  And  see  above, 
Introduction  to  Book  I,  pp.  84—86. 

See  Sisson  and  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  59-60,  above. 


Three  Last  Books  and  Autograph  Notes 

College,  Dublin,  of  some  fourteen  folios  of  Hooker's  working  notes 
for  Books  VI  and  VIII.  These  Autograph  Notes  are  printed  for  the 
first  time  in  volume  3  of  the  present  edition  (3:463—523).  Detailed 
commentary  on  them  follows  the  commentary  on  Book  VIII  in  this 
volume.  The  present  essay  continues  with  a  discussion  of  the  most 
important  points  on  which  these  notes  must  affect  our  understanding 
of  the  books  to  which  they  are  related. 

i.  The  Autograph  Notes  and  Book  VI  of  The  Lawes 

The  great  problem  with  Book  VI  has  been  to  determine  the  rela- 
tion, if  any,  between  the  extensive  treatise  against  lay-elders  that 
Hooker  is  known  to  have  drafted  by  1593  and  the  chapters  on  pen- 
ance which  were  first  published  as  Book  VI  in  1648  and  reprinted, 
often  with  marked  hesitancy,  in  later  editions.  The  Autograph  Notes 
make  a  major  contribution  to  the  solution  of  this  problem. 

The  lost  draft  can  be  reconstructed  in  outline  from  comments  on  it 
made  by  Hooker's  two  associates,  George  Cranmer  and  Edwin 
Sandys.  It  fits  perfectly  Hooker's  previously  announced  plan  for  the 
Lawes  (Pref.  7.6).  The  discussion  of  penance — Book  VI  as  we  now 
have  it — flows  without  abrupt  change  of  course  from  an  introductory 
chapter  clearly  within  the  boundaries  of  the  original  scheme,  and  its 
general  relevance  to  Hooker's  concerns  in  the  Lawes  argues  for  its 
continued  publication  as  part  of  the  work.    Nevertheless,  the  exact 

An  additional  folio  replying  to  the  attack  on  earlier  books  of  the  Lawes,  pub- 
lished in  1599  as  A  Christian  Letter,  is  printed  at  3:523-538,  reprinted  in  4:83-97,  and 
commented  upon  in  4:234—239. 

Stanwood  bracketed  the  Cranmer-Sandys  notes  as  "between  1593  and  1596" 
(3:xxxi);  Haugaard  (pp.  41—42,  above)  convincingly  argues  for  the  1593  date  (at  least 
for  Cranmer's  comments),  which  is  adopted  by  Gibbs,  pp.  259—261,  below.  On 
Keble's  skepticism  in  regard  to  Book  VI,  see  Works  (1888),  1  :xxxiv— xxxix. 

See  3:105-140  and  nn,  below;  and  see  Rudolph  Almasy,  "Richard  Hooker's 
Book  VI:  A  Reconstruction,"  Huntington  Library  Quarterly,  42  (1979):  117-139;  and 
see  Introduction  to  Book  VI,  pp.  253-255,  below.  Cranmer's  and  Sandys's  comments 
are  our  sole  evidence  for  the  existence  as  well  as  the  contents  of  this  treatise. 

A.  S.  McGrade,  "Repentance  and  Spiritual  Power:  Book  VI  of  Richard  Hooker's 
Of  the  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity,"  Journal  of  Ecclesiastical  History,  29  (1978):  163-176. 



contribution  of  these  six  substantial  chapters  to  the  larger  argument  has 
remained  unclear. 

At  first  glance  the  newly  discovered  notes  only  exacerbate  the 
problem,  for  those  relating  to  Book  VI  were  not  made  as  a  basis  for 
writing  either  the  draft  read  by  Cranmer  and  Sandys  or  the  chapters 
on  penance.  Rather,  these  notes  of  Hooker's  would  have  served  as  the 
basis  for  yet  another  sizable  essay:  a  discussion  of  the  medieval  church 
courts,  which  had  survived  the  English  Reformation  relatively  un- 
changed despite  Puritan  criticism,  projects  for  reform,  and  encroach- 
ment by  the  common  law.  On  closer  reading,  however,  connec- 
tions become  apparent  between  this  new  material  and  both  of  the 
previously  known  parts  of  Book  VI.  The  result  is  that,  while  the 
number  of  parts  is  now  greater,  their  unity  is  also  greater.  All  the  parts 
fit,  both  with  one  another  and  with  the  argument  of  the  Lawes. 

The  force  of  this  evidence  will  be  clearer  after  a  brief  outline  of  the 
new  material.  It  consists  almost  entirely  of  transcriptions  from  medieval 
legal  sources  and  is  organized  around  four  headings: 

1  What  causes  particularly  are  spirituall. 

2  The  forme  and  maner  of  proceding  in  them. 

3  The  punishments  necessary  in  spirituall  processe. 

4  The  care  which  justice  hath  alwayes  had  to  uphold  ecclesiasti- 

call  jurisdictions  and  courts.  (3:472.14—18) 

In  four  instances  we  can  observe  Hooker  using  this  material  in  draft 
paragraphs  of  his  own,  allowing  us  to  gauge  how  much  the  notes 
might  have  contributed  to  a  revised  Book  VI.      Using  the  ratio  of 

10  Ralph  Houlbrooke,  Church  Courts  and  the  People  During  the  English  Reformation, 
1520-1570  (Oxford:  Oxford  University  Press,  1979).  No  serious  post-Reformation 
attempt  had  been  made  to  expound  the  ecclesiastical  laws  for  the  benefit  of  English 
readers  before  the  work  of  such  men  as  Henry  Swinburne,  Richard  Cosin,  and 
Francis  Clarke  in  the  1590s  (Houlbrooke,  pp.  19-20).  Hooker's  discussion  would  have 
been  a  welcome  addition  to  these  efforts. 

11  The  length  of  draft  paragraphs  in  relation  to  source  transcriptions  in  the 
Autograph  Notes  varies  from  52%  to  244%.  The  average  for  the  four  paragraphs 
(3:486.13-487.16,  488.18-489.25,  489.26-35,  and  490.2-6)  is  154%.  At  this  rate  (not 
an  unreasonable  one,  in  view  of  Hooker's  collection  of  several  distinct  series  of 
sources  for  Book  VIII  at  494.14-523.26),  the  3,282  words  of  source  transcriptions  in 


Three  Last  Books  and  Autograph  Notes 

source  notes  to  draft  exposition  in  these  instances  as  a  basis  for  calcula- 
tion, we  may  reckon  that  the  quotations  gathered  under  the  four 
headings  listed  above  would  have  led  to  a  discussion  of  approximately 
6,100  words,  or  somewhat  more  than  seventeen  pages  in  the  present 
edition.  Such  calculations  are  obviously  only  approximate,  but  it  is 
reasonable  to  think  that  these  sources  would  have  provided  the  basis 
for  a  quite  substantial  chapter. 

Could  such  an  essay  have  been  part  of  the  lost  draft  on  lay-elders? 
No.  First,  because  a  discussion  of  this  magnitude  on  these  topics  could 
not  be  fitted  into  the  lost  draft.  Although  Cranmer's  and  Sandys's 
comments  indicate  that  Hooker  had  given  some  attention  to  related 
matters,  no  portion  of  their  comments  could  reasonably  apply  to  a 
detailed  treatment  of  the  cases,  procedures,  punishments,  and  indepen- 
dence of  the  established  church  courts.  More  decisively,  Sandys's 
comments  on  the  lost  draft  are  beyond  doubt  the  occasion  for  Hooker's 
collection  of  sources  on  the  four  listed  topics. 

Now  a  member  of  Commons,  Sandys  observes,  commenting  on  the 
sentence  on  page  3  of  Hooker's  lost  draft,  "Why  causes  matrimoniall — is 
not  obscure": 

nor  verie  plaine.  And  therfore  I  pray  you  set  it  down.  And  add 
withall  the  reason  why  causes  of  legitimation  and  bastardie  are 
spirituall.  Moreover  if  you  can,  why  matters  Testamentarie, 
which  is  the  greatest  point  of  all  other.  Wherein  the  nature  and 
difference  of  causes  meerely  ecclesiasticall  and  mixt  is  to  be 
opened.  These  points  are  at  this  day  verie  strongly  impugned: 
and  therfore  the  trueth  in  them  most  necessarie  to  be  thoroughly 
unfolded.  (3:130.30-132.3) 

the  notes  for  Book  VI  would  have  yielded  5,054  words  of  finished  text.  An  addition- 
al 1 ,065  words  can  be  counted  (at  a  rate  of  1 00%)  from  passages  in  the  notes  in  which 
Hooker  argues  a  point,  rather  than  transcribing  or  briefly  reflecting  on  sources.  In 
sum,  the  notes  for  Book  VI  (466.16—486.9),  including  the  notes  bearing  on  the  topics 
of  Books  VI-VIII  in  general  at  466.16—469.13,  provide  a  basis  for  some  6,119  words 
of  finished  text — about  seventeen  pages  in  this  edition,  an  average  chapter  length  in 
the  1648  Book  VI,  equivalent  to  three  chapters  in  the  earlier  books. 



A  little  later,  commenting  on  Hooker's  page  16,  Sandys  adds  that,  "as 
all  things  of  this  lyfe  have  their  reference  to  the  life  to  come:  so  all 
civill  causes  have  something  in  them  spirituall:  whereupon  riseth  the 
difficultie  of  distinguishing  the  one  kynd  from  the  other."  After 
proposing  two  rules  of  his  own  for  distinguishing  the  two  types  of 
case,  he  concludes:  "These  things  you  must  needes  handle  somewhere 
or  other"  (3:133.8—11,  30—31).  Sandys  could  not  have  made  these 
comments  if  he  had  had  before  him  a  detailed  discussion  of  the  four 
points  we  see  in  folio  77  of  the  Autograph  Notes. 

Conversely,  Sandys's  observations  and  queries  explain  perfectly  why 
these  notes  were  compiled:  namely,  for  a  discussion  "somewhere  or 
other"  in  which  the  most  "strongly  impugned"  points  of  ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction  would  be  "thoroughly  unfolded."  The  first  of  Hooker's 
four  headings  (on  which  he  had  apparently  touched  in  the  draft  read 
by  Sandys,  but  too  briefly)  is  directly  apposite  to  Sandys's  comments. 
The  fourth  heading,  on  the  concern  of  "justice"  to  uphold  ecclesiasti- 
cal jurisdiction,  speaks  to  contemporary  attacks  on  the  church  courts, 
also  mentioned  by  Sandys.  By  discussing  the  intervening  two  topics  as 
well,  Hooker  would  have  "thoroughly  unfolded"  the  whole  system  of 
church  law  obtaining  in  England  when  he  wrote.  Thus  Sandys's 
comments  on  the  draft  refutation  of  lay-elders  clearly  led  to  this 
portion  of  Hooker's  working  notes,  and  perhaps  beyond,  to  a  chapter 
based  on  the  notes.  If  Hooker  wrote  such  a  chapter,  however,  it  has 
not  come  to  light.  It  certainly  is  not  any  of  the  chapters  on  penance 
published  in  1648. 

What,  then,  is  the  connection  between  the  material  we  have  exam- 
ined so  far — the  lost  draft  and  Hooker's  notes  on  church  courts — and 
the  tract  on  penance  published  as  Book  VI  in  1648?  To  begin  answer- 
ing this  question  we  must  look  further  at  Cranmer's  and  Sandys's 

Sandys's  call  for  a  thorough  explication  of  the  different  kinds  of 
legal  causes — spiritual,  temporal,  and  mixed — is  not  the  only  instance 
in  which  he  urged  Hooker  to  expand  Book  VI  to  something  more 
than  a  refutation  of  lay-elders.  In  his  first  comment  on  Hooker's  draft, 
he  asks  whether,  if  Book  VI  be  "generally  intended"  against  the 
disciplinarians'  whole  platform  of  ecclesiastical  jurisdiction,  it  is  suffi- 
cient to  deal  "with  no  other  part  then  only  lay  Presbiters."  He  goes 


Three  Last  Books  and  Autograph  Notes 

on  to  ask,  "What  think  you  of  deviding  the  Pastor  and  Doctour?  Or 
where  handle  you  that  point?  What  of  their  consistorie?  What  of  their 
Synodes?"  (3:130.18—24).  At  least  two  of  Cranmer's  comments  might 
also  have  led  Hooker  to  fuller  discussion:  3:111.4—15,  commenting  on 
"Every  open  scandalous  action,"  and  3:112.17—20,  commenting  on  "They 
would  not  be  light."  Such  suggestions  for  enlarging  a  treatise  already 
more  than  one-third  the  length  of  Book  V  have  been  cited  (for 
example,  at  3:xxxv  of  this  edition)  as  evidence  that  the  1648  treatise 
on  penance,  long  as  it  is,  would  not  have  been  unduly  ample  as  an 
introduction  to  a  revision  of  Book  VI  responsive  to  Cranmer's  and 
Sandys's  comments.  The  discovery  that  Hooker  made  detailed  notes  in 
response  to  one  comment  alone  strengthens  this  argument. 

Sandys's  remarks  on  the  kinds  of  cases  appropriate  for  ecclesiastical 
courts  and  Hooker's  response  in  the  Dublin  notes  suggest  that  the 
treatise  published  in  1648  is  suitable  in  content  as  well  as  scale  to  a 
finished,  expanded  Book  VI.  To  see  this,  we  must  set  aside  the  mod- 
ern assumption  that  repentance  is  a  purely  private  matter,  a  subject  for 
sermons  and  devotional  tracts  but  not  for  a  treatise  on  English  ecclesi- 
astical law.  Instead  we  should  recall  that  the  moral  regeneration  of 


society  was  a  central  aim  of  the  English  Reformation,  that  public 
discipline  of  morals  was  a  persistent  (if  controversial)  concern  of  the 
Elizabethan  church  from  the  Convocation  of  1563  onwards,  that 
lay-eldership  was  proposed  precisely  as  part  of  a  system  of  external 
discipline,  that  the  1648  treatise  on  repentance  is  in  large  part  a  history 
of  public  discipline  in  the  patristic  church,  and,  finally,  that  the 
express  aim  of  the  medieval  church  courts  was  to  bring  about  repent- 
ance. Due  attention  to  these  points  does  not  dictate  a  detailed  table  of 
contents  for  a  final  form  of  Book  VI.  A  systematic  discussion  of  the 
English  church  courts  would  have  been  an  apt  continuation  of  the 
historical  and  theological  account  of  discipline  published  in  1648. 
Alternatively,  a  discussion  of  the  church  courts  might  have  been  fitted 
into  the  early  draft  on  lay-elders  (itself  subject  to  other  revisions)  at  the 

On  repentance  in  Book  V,  see  Introduction,  pp.  200-202,  above. 
William  P.  Haugaard,  Elizabeth  and  the  English  Reformation  (1968),  pp.  67-73, 
169-175,  279. 

See  McGrade,  "Repentance  and  Spiritual  Power,"  n.  9,  above. 



point  where  Sandys  called  for  a  thorough  unfolding  of  such  matters.  It 
is  not  clear  how  Hooker  planned  to  proceed  here.  What  is  now  clear, 
however,  is  that  there  is  no  difficulty  in  principle  in  forming  a  con- 
nected and  comprehensive  conception  of  Book  VI  as  an  integral  part 
of  the  Lawes.  Unfortunately,  the  Book  VI  so  conceived  does  not  exist. 
We  do  not  have  Hooker's  early  draft.  We  do  not  have  a  discussion  of 
church  courts  based  on  the  Autograph  Notes.  Thanks  largely  to  the 
notes,  however,  which  are  linked  in  their  genesis  to  the  early  draft  and 
in  content  to  both  that  draft  and  the  1648  chapters  on  repentance,  we 
can  see  that  Hooker  was  working  towards  a  Book  VI  which  was  both 
more  comprehensive  and  more  positive  than  he  had  originally  planned. 
He  ultimately  intended  to  offer  nothing  less  than  a  theologically 
grounded,  historically  and  legally  informed  exposition  of  established 
institutions  of  ecclesiastical  jurisdiction  as  well  as  a  refutation  of  the 
presbyterian  discipline  most  pressingly  demanded  as  an  alternative.  The 
loss  of  such  a  treatise  from  Hooker  is  a  great  misfortune. 

M.  The  Autograph  Notes  and  Book  VII 

The  direct  impact  of  the  Autograph  Notes  on  our  understanding  of 
Book  VII  of  the  Lawes  is  negligible.  A  short  section  on  episcopal 

1S  There  can  be  no  certainty  about  Hooker's  plans  for  all  of  the  drafts,  notes,  and 
readers'  suggestions  bearing  on  Book  VI.  A  "maximal"  final  form  of  the  book,  incor- 
porating all  that  he  is  known  to  have  written  or  was  definitely  advised  to  write,  is 
shown  at  the  right  of  the  following  diagram,  with  earlier  stages  to  the  left.  Extant 
material  is  shown  in  boldface  capitals. 

First  form Intermediate  matter Final  Form  of  Book  VI? 

1648    CHAPS.    ON   PENANCE 


Lost  refutation         CRANMER-SANDYS  NOTES 

of  lay-elders  leading  to 

HOOKER'S  AUTO.  NOTES  Chaps,  on  church  courts 

ON  CHURCH  COURTS  ^       ■      ,       r        ■  c 

Revised  refutation  ot 


Refutation  of  other  parts  of 
the  discipline 


Three  Last  Books  and  Autograph  Notes 

elections  at  folio  76r  of  the  Dublin  manuscript  (3:491.29-492.30) 
seems  flagged  for  Book  VII  (but  Hooker  used  the  material  in  VIII 
instead),  and  a  number  of  the  rhetorical  phrases  collected  at  folios  83— 
84  (3:463.1—466.14)  bear  on  the  conflict  over  episcopacy.  More 
important  changes  in  our  understanding  of  Book  VII  are  wrought  by 
the  Dublin  notes  indirectly,  through  their  effects  on  surrounding 
books.  The  exposition  of  an  ordinarily  autonomous  system  of  ecclesi- 
astical justice  projected  for  Book  VI  would  have  confirmed  the  au- 
thority of  the  bishops  who  presided  over  the  system,  as  well  as  adding 
weight  to  the  system  as  a  whole.  Confirming  episcopal  authority  was 
not  Hooker's  only  aim  in  Book  VII,  however.  He  was  also  deeply 
concerned  about  the  shortcomings  of  contemporary  bishops.  A  parallel 
concern  with  the  irresponsible  exercise  of  royal  power  is  evident,  as 
we  shall  see,  from  the  Autograph  Notes  for  Book  VIII,  and  this  in 
turn  underlines  Hooker's  distinctive  use  of  Jerome  in  Book  VII  to 
suggest  that  the  very  office  of  bishop  depends  for  its  continuing 
legitimacy  on  its  acceptance  by  the  church  (VI 1. 5. 8).  More  generally, 
the  wide  range  of  sources  transcribed  in  Hooker's  working  notes  draws 
attention  to  the  broad  context  in  which  he  considered  episcopal 
authority  and  honor,  issues  on  which  previous  polemic  had  been 
especially  narrow  and  unedifying.  Book  VII  has  always  been  difficult 
to  place  among  standard  ecclesiological  positions.  Encouraged  now  to 
take  a  fresh  look  at  all  of  the  three  last  books,  we  may  find  that  in  this 
one  Hooker  has  intentionally  gone  beyond  standard  positions  to 
fashion  an  episcopal  ideal  both  tenable  on  the  basis  of  Scripture  and 
history  and  adequate  to  the  circumstances  in  which  he  wrote. 

Hi.  The  Autograph  Notes  and  Book  VIII 

The  Dublin  notes  have  important  implications,  both  direct  and 
indirect,  for  our  understanding  of  Hooker's  defense  of  the  royal 
supremacy  in  Book  VIII.  They  show  us  how  the  book  was  written, 
help  explain  the  unfinished  state  in  which  it  has  come  down  to  us,  and 
strengthen  our  impression  of  Hooker  as  a  distinctively  republican  or 
constitutionalist  interpreter  of  supreme  power. 

There  are  no  fewer  than  four  distinct  outlines  of  Book  VIII  pre- 
served in  these  notes:  a  short  paragraph  on  folio  69  (3:494.28—33),  and 



three  somewhat  varied  lists  of  chapter  headings,  two  of  them  followed 
by  collections  of  correspondingly  organized  sources.  We  can  thus  see 
the  book  take  shape  before  our  eyes. 

In  conjunction  with  the  notes  for  Book  VI,  this  material  suggests  an 
explanation  for  the  particular  sort  of  unfinished  quality  possessed  by 
Book  VIII  in  all  surviving  manuscripts.  Although  its  argument  is 
tighter  than  is  sometimes  recognized,  our  text  of  Book  VIII  has 
occasional  gaps  and  a  rambling  quality  not  found  elsewhere  in  Hooker. 
This  is  what  the  several  collections  of  sources  help  explain.  If  Hooker 
worked  up  his  material  for  this  book  in  the  same  way  as  we  have  seen 
him  using  his  notes  for  Book  VI — first  transcribing  sources  under  a 
topical  heading,  then  drafting  and  redrafting  passages  based  on  those 
sources — there  would  have  been  a  stage  before  final  revision  at  which 
he  had  in  hand  stylistically  finished  essays  on  an  assortment  of  particu- 
lar points  falling  within  the  general  plan  of  the  book  but  had  not  yet 
woven  them  together  to  form  integrated,  nonrepetitive  larger  units. 
This  is  just  the  impression  given  by  parts  of  the  surviving  text  of  Book 
VIII  (especially  chapter  6).  With  our  present  awareness  of  Hooker's 
working  methods,  we  need  not  attribute  such  imperfections  to  tam- 
pering. The  notes  thus  confirm  an  already  strong  case  for  Book  VIII's 

To  say  that  Hooker's  chief  aim  in  the  Lawes  was  the  legitimation  of 
episcopal  and  royal  authority  may  seem  to  suggest  that  he  was  simply 
a  defender  of  the  status  quo,  an  advocate  with  a  brief.  This  would  be 
misleading.  In  Hooker's  work  the  process  of  legitimation  is  complex, 
involving  not  only  the  contention  that  things  established  are  permissi- 
ble by  various  theological  and  historical  standards,  but  also  a  coherent 
and  more  or  less  creative  interpretation  of  those  things  which,  if 
generally  absorbed  and  respected,  would  help  make  them,  not  merely 
permissible,  but  genuinely  desirable.  This  is  clear  enough  with  regard 
to  the  persuasive  account  of  Prayer  Book  services  in  Book  V,  which 
presents  the  prescribed  offices  in  the  context  of  a  psychologically  and 
socially  dense  devotional  theology  previously  unexpressed.      With 

16  See  Peter  Lake,  Anglicans  and  Puritans?,  p.  164,  and  Introduction  to  Book  V, 
pp.  186-187,  above. 


Three  Last  Books  and  Autograph  Notes 

regard  to  the  royal  supremacy  in  the  English  church,  Hooker's  con- 
structive interpretation  of  what  he  was  defending  took  the  form  of  a 
constitutionalism  evident  to  some  extent  in  Book  VIII  as  belatedly 
published  and  confirmed  in  two  ways  in  the  Autograph  Notes. 

The  detailed  discussion  of  English  church  law  planned  for  Book  VI 
would  have  given  both  grounding  and  emphasis  to  statements  in  Book 
VIII  on  the  king's  subordination  to  law,  statements  which  have  hither- 
to sounded  well-intentioned  but  somewhat  hollow.  Thus,  for  exam- 
ple, Hooker  endorses  the  challenge  to  secular  absolutism  thrown  down 
by  Ambrose,  the  aristocratic  fourth-century  bishop  of  Milan,  "A  good 
emperor  is  within  the  church,  not  over  it."  Hooker  gives  this  dictum 
an  explicitly  constitutionalist  interpretation:  "for  the  received  lawes 
and  liberties  of  the  Church,  the  King  hath  supreme  authoritie  and 
power  but  against  them  none"  (VIII. 3. 3;  3:347.17-19).  Such  a  state- 
ment, remarkable  even  by  itself,  would  have  gained  in  force  if  Hook- 
er, following  Sandys's  advice,  had  thoroughly  (and  persuasively) 
unfolded  the  received  laws  of  the  English  church  in  an  earlier  book. 

A  major  difficulty  with  a  consistently  constitutionalist  reading  of 
Hooker  is  his  apparent  insistence  in  the  concluding  chapter  of  the 
Lawes  that  kings  are  incorrigible — exempt  from  correction  or  deposi- 
tion by  their  subjects.  To  be  sure,  Hooker  only  defends  the  crown's 
exemption  from  ordinary  processes  of  ecclesiastical  censure.  He  explic- 
itly states  that,  since  his  purpose  is  "not  to  oppugne  any  save  only  that 
which  Reformers  hold"  (VTII.9.2;  3:437.4-5),  he  will  discuss  the  general 
question  of  whether  kings  are  exempt  from  coercive  censure  in  all 
circumstances  but  will  not  attempt  to  decide  it.  After  presenting  one 
argument  against  the  possibility  of  correcting  a  supreme  ruler,  howev- 
er, he  does  not  in  fact  discuss  the  general  question  further  but  only 
offers  a  refutation  of  historical  examples  used  by  reformers  (and  Ro- 
man Catholics)  to  support  the  church's  ordinary  right  of  censure.  This 
gives  his  work  at  its  close  a  definitely  absolutist  tone. 

While  the  notes  for  this  chapter  do  not  reverse  the  direction  of  the 
argument,  they  do  underline  Hooker's  declaration  at  the  beginning  of 
the  chapter  that  he  would  not  attempt  to  determine  the  general  consti- 
tutional possibility  of  correcting  an  erring  ruler.  Inspection  of  the 
notes  shows  that  Hooker  did  indeed  plan  to  present  arguments  on 
both  sides  of  this  general  question,  apparently  at  some  length  (see 



3:503.18— 504. 2.n,  below).  Unfortunately,  we  cannot  tell  what  argu- 
ments he  would  have  brought  forward  for  formal  legal  procedures  for 
censure  or  deposition,  but  the  topical  headings  listed  for  the  other  side 
of  the  question  show  clearly  that  the  discussion  was  to  be  a  funda- 
mental one.  Thus,  instead  of  a  single  general  argument  against  the 
possibility  of  disciplining  a  supreme  ruler,  followed  by  denials  that 
incidents  such  as  Ambrose's  purported  excommunication  of  the 
emperor  Theodosius  provided  unqualified  support  for  royal  corrigibil- 
ity,  the  Autograph  Notes  show  that  Hooker  intended  to  provide  an 
extensive  discussion  of  the  general  question,  with  several  arguments  on 
each  side,  and  only  then  an  impugning  of  "that  which  Reformers 

We  may  not  complete  Hooker's  chapter  on  the  (in)corrigibility  of 
supreme  rulers  to  suit  ourselves,  yet  in  the  political  climate  of  late 
Elizabethan  England,  the  bare  intention  to  provide  a  neutral  discussion 
of  this  ultimate  problem  for  constitutional  theory  is  surely  noteworthy. 
After  such  a  discussion,  Hooker's  denial  of  ordinary  relevance  to 
Ambrose's  treatment  of  Theodosius  might  have  seemed  even  more 
decisive  than  it  does  now,  but  the  effect  of  the  chapter  as  a  whole 
might  well  have  been  to  leave  the  larger  question  genuinely  open — to 
be  decided  by  that  community  of  which,  on  Hooker's  principles,  the 
king  is  a  principal  part,  but  still,  only  a  part. 

iv.  The  Three  Last  Books  and  the  First  Five 

The  traditional  judgment  that  Hooker's  importance  lies  principally 
in  the  earlier  parts  of  the  Lawes  is  not  simply  mistaken.  If  he  himself 
thought  of  Book  V  as  merely  a  creditable  presentation  of  one  side  in 
a  dispute  about  "the  bare  and  naked  difference  of  a  few  ceremonies," 
then  he  greatly  underestimated  the  need  for  a  coherent,  sacramentally- 
centered  theology  of  public  devotion  in  a  culture  well  on  the  way  to 
private  piety  and  public  materialism.  If  he  thought  of  the  first  books  of 
the  Lawes  as  only  a  survey  of  obvious  traditional  principles  and  an 

On  the  authority  of  the  community  in  Hooker,  see  Introduction  to  Book  VIII, 
pp.  369-375,  below. 


Three  Last  Books  and  Autograph  Notes 

application  of  them  against  a  narrow  biblicism,  he  greatly  overestimat- 
ed the  capacity  of  later  thinkers  to  maintain  a  single  vision  of  religion, 
ethics,  and  science.  To  take  the  three  last  books  seriously  as  dealing 
with  the  "weightiest  remaines"  of  the  challenge  to  English  ecclesiasti- 
cal polity  implies  no  derogation  of  the  earlier  books.  The  point,  rather, 
is  that  Hooker's  treatises  on  first  principles  and  public  worship  in 
Books  I— V  were  not  written  in  a  scholarly  or  pious  vacuum.  They 
were  written  with  a  view  to  the  manifestation  of  those  principles  and 
practices  in  the  life  of  an  evolving,  dynamic,  ultimately  self-governing 
national  community. 

As  he  explained  his  method  of  writing  at  the  beginning  of  Book  I, 
the  "particular  decisions"  of  the  later  books  were  to  make  "more 
plaine"  whatever  might  be  unclear  in  the  earlier  parts  of  the  work.  At 
the  same  time,  however,  those  particular  decisions — including  the 
political  determinations  of  the  three  last  books — would  appear  "more 
strong"  when  the  earlier  "generall  meditations"  had  been  read  before 
(1.1.2).  For  some  time  it  has  been  easier  to  read  the  various  parts  of 
the  Lawes  separately,  for  it  is  difficult  to  find  public  manifestations  in 
modern  life  of  ideas  such  as  those  Hooker  presents  at  the  beginning  of 
his  work.  And  if  the  best  modern  political  institutions  have  surprising 
affinities  with  the  constitutionalism  of  Book  VIII,  these  institutions  are 
seldom  justified  today  by  reference  to  a  synoptic  vision  of  all  reality. 
The  easier  reading  may  not  be  the  better  one,  however,  whether  we 
are  interested  in  understanding  Hooker's  work  or  learning  from  it.  It 
may  be  more  fruitful  to  read  the  Lawes  as  the  coherent  whole  which, 
despite  its  length  and  the  vicissitudes  of  its  survival,  it  substantially 
succeeds  in  being.  Attention  to  Hooker's  account  of  the  personal 
virtue  and  public  discipline  of  repentance  and  to  his  arguments  for  the 
lawfulness  of  episcopal  dignity  and  royal  ecclesiastical  dominion — in 
particular  an  appreciation  of  the  constructive  rather  than  purely  defen- 
sive character  of  the  argument — is  essential  to  such  a  reading. 







Contayningan  aunfwercvnto  aTreatife  called, 
The  Learned  Difcottrfe  of EccL  Government, 
otherwifc  intituled, 
\A  hriefe  and f  Line  declaration  concerning  the  defires  of  all  the 

ftithfull  Mintfiers  th*t  bane,  anddofeekffir  the  diftiflint  And 

reformation  of  the  Church  ofEngtaride. 

Comprehending  likewife  an  aunfwere  to  the  arguments  in  a  Trcatife  named 
The  iudgement  of  a  mofi  Reverend  and  Learned 
man  from  beyond the  Seas,&c. 

Aunfvvering  atfb  to  the  argumentes  of  Caluine ,  Beza ,  and  Da- 
nsus,  with  other  our  Reuerend  learned  Brethren ,  befides  Camalis  and  Bo- 

dinus,  both  for  the  regiment  of  women ,  and  in  defence  of  her  Maieftic,  and 
of  all  other  Chrifttan  Princes  fupreme  Gouernmcnt  jv 

in  Ecclefiafticall  cauies, 

The  Tetrafchie  that  our  Brethren  would  ere<5t  in  euery  particular  cqngre- 

gotiorty  tfDofttrs,  Tajtirs,  Gotterntrs  And  Deacons  fvith  their feuerall 

and  ioyntauthoritie  in  Elections,  Excommunications,  Synodall 

Conftitutions  and  other  Ecclefiafticall  matters. 

Aunfwered  by  John  Bridges  Dcsne  of  Sarum. 

Come  and  See.  Z?  Take  it  vp  and  Read. 

O^  foh.ljt.  grfL— -   ' 

■  yr  LONDON, 

Printed  by  lohn  VVindet,  for  Thomas  Chard. 

4.  Tide  page  (reduced)  of  John  Bridges'  A  Defence  of  the  government  established  in  the 
Church  of  Englande  for  ecclesiasticall  matters  (1587;  STC  3734),  a  massive  (1401  quarto 
pages)  predecessor  of  Hooker's  Dawes. 

Book  VI 

Lee  W.  Gibbs 

i.  Authenticity 

Book  VI  was  first  published  in  1648  with  Book  VIII,  probably 
under  the  auspices  of  Archbishop  James  Ussher  almost  fifty  years  after 
Hooker's  death  (3:xxxviii).  It  is  the  first  and  the  most  perplexing  of 
the  notorious  "three  last  books"  on  power  that  deal  with  what  Hook- 
er describes  as  "the  weightiest  and  last  remaines"  of  his  controversy 
with  the  disciplinarians,  namely:  "Jurisdiction  [Book  VI],  Dignitie  [Book 
VII],  and  Dominion  Ecclesiastical  [Book  VIII]"  (VI.1.1;  3:2.15-16). ' 
Book  VI  bears  special  significance  because  Hooker  may  have  been 
revising  it  at  the  time  of  his  death — if  indeed  he  had  not  completed 
the  final  draft,  as  several  of  his  contemporaries  testified;  it  is  also  the 
point  upon  which  the  posthumous  publication  of  the  three  last  books 
by  his  literary  executors  foundered. 

Hooker's  authorship  of  the  material  traditionally  published  as  Book 
VI  has  never  been  seriously  challenged.  The  head-title  is  not  problem- 
atic, for  it  explicitly  describes  the  content  of  the  treatise  as  a  polemic 
against  the  disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders: 

See  Introduction,  The  Three  Last  Books  and  Hooker's  Autograph  Notes,  pp. 
237-242,  above. 

John  Spenser  wrote  in  his  Preface  to  the  1604  edition  of  Books  I-V  of  the 
Lawes  that  "he  lived  till  he  sawe  them  perfected;  and  .  .  .  dyed  as  it  were  in  the  travell 
of  them  .  .  ."  (1:348,  this  edn.),  and  William  Covel  wrote  in  his  1603  defence  of 
Books  I-V,  A  Just  and  Temperate  Defence  of  the  five  books  of  Ecclesiastical  Policie  by  JR.. 
Hooker  (STC  5881):  "Concerning  those  three  Books  of  his,  which  from  his  own 
mouth  I  am  informed  that  they  were  finished  ..."  (pp.  149—150).  Sisson  discounted 
these  witnesses,  adjudging  Covel's  source  to  be  Spenser,  as  "The  Legend  of  the  Destruc- 
tion of  Hooker's  Manuscripts"  (§1),  and  no  evidence  surfaced  in  the  preparation  of  this 
edition  to  dispute  Sisson's  account.  Georges  Edelen,  however,  is  prepared  to  argue,  in  a 
forthcoming  biography  of  Hooker,  that  Spenser's  testimony  ought  to  be  accepted. 



Conteyning  their  fift  assertion,  which  is,  That  our  Lawes  are 
corruptand  repugnant  to  the  Lawes  of  God  in  matter  belonging  to  the 
power  of  Ecclesiasticall  Jurisdiction,  in  that  wee  have  not  throughout  all 
Churches  certayne  Lay-elders  established  for  the  exercise  of  that  power. 
The  question  betweene  us,  whether  all  Congregations  or  Parishes  ought 
to  have  laie  Elders  invested  with  power  of  Jurisdiction  in  Spirituall  causes. 

This  description  corresponds  with  Hooker's  summary  of  the  content 
of  Book  VI  in  the  1593  Preface: 

Of  those  foure  bookes  which  remaine  and  are  bestowed  about  the  special- 
ities of  that  cause  which  lyeth  in  controversie, . .  .  The  second  and  third 
are  concerning  the  power  of  jurisdiction:  the  one,  whether  laymen,  such  as 
your  governing  Elders  are,  ought  in  all  congregations  for  ever  to  be 
invested  with  that  power  ....  (Pref.  7.6;  1:35.27—36.1) 

A  third  description  of  Book  VI  given  at  the  end  of  the  Preface  coin- 
cides with  the  previous  two:  "The  sixt,  of  the  power  of  jurisdiction, 
which  the  reformed  platforme  claymeth  unto  layelders,  with  others" 

Moreover,  in  the  first  part  of  the  published  treatise,  Hooker  directly 
addressed  the  designated  topic  of  lay  elders  in  its  historical  and  polemi- 
cal setting  (chap.  1),  followed  by  a  general  discussion  of  the  nature  of 
spiritual  jurisdiction  and  a  distinction  between  "the  power  of  Eccle- 
siasticall order"  and  "the  power  of  Jurisdiction  Ecclesiasticall"  (chap. 
2).  The  major  problem  with  the  traditional  Book  VI  does  not  arise 
until  the  end  of  chapter  2  and  the  beginning  of  chapter  3,  where 
Hooker  further  defines  spiritual  jurisdiction,  a  doctrine  "referred  unto 
action,"  in  terms  of  its  "chiefest  end"  namely,  "poenitence."  Keble  ob- 
served that  from  this  point  on  Hooker  seems  to  switch  opponents  from 
Geneva  to  Rome  and  to  replace  the  rest  of  his  assigned  refutation  of 
congregational  lay  elders  with  what  appear  to  be  "a  series  of  dissertations 
on  Primitive  and  Romish  penance"  (l:xxxiv— xxxix).    After  a  brief 

In  his  edition  of  the  1648  text  of  Book  VI  under  the  title  Confession  and 
Absolution:  Being  the  Sixth  Book  of  the  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity  (London,  1901),  John 
Harding  accepted  Keble's  argument  that  an  independent  "treatise  upon  Penitence" 


Book  VI 

discussion  of  repentance  as  a  virtue,  Hooker  proceeds  to  elaborate 
throughout  the  rest  of  the  treatise  upon  the  three  traditional  parts  of 
the  medieval  Christian  sacrament  of  Penance,  namely:  contrition  (the 
last  part  of  chap.  3),  confession  (chap.  4),  and  satisfaction  (chap.  5),  to 
which  he  appends  an  extensive  discussion  of  absolution  (chap.  6). 

When  Keble  became  acquainted  with  the  notes  by  George  Cranmer 
and  Edwin  Sandys  on  the  earlier  and  now  lost  manuscript  draft  of 
Book  VI,  he  thought  that  he  had  found  the  solution  to  the  apparent 
anomaly.  He  argued  that  the  original  Book  VI,  as  reflected  in  the 
critical  notes  by  Cranmer  and  Sandys,  really  addressed  the  issue  of  lay 
elders  and  was  a  different  work  entirely  from  "the  treatise  on  repent- 
ance" mistakenly  interpolated  into  the  Lawes.  Following  the  lead  of 
Walton,  Keble  surmised  that  the  original  draft  of  Book  VI  was  sup- 
pressed by  a  small  band  of  zealous  Puritans  who  were  particularly 
overwrought  concerning  the  issue  of  lay  elders,  which  was  crucial  to 
their  cause  {Life,  Keble,  1:91-92).  Recent  scholars,  however,  have 
agreed  that  the  text  published  in  1648,  while  not  the  whole  of  Hook- 
er's intended  treatise  against  lay  elders,  is  an  essential  and  coherent  part 
of  that  polemic  and  ought  therefore  to  be  published  in  its  traditional 
place  as  Book  VI  of  the  Lawes. 

Raymond  Aaron  Houk  argued  on  internal  grounds  the  plausibility 
of  regarding  the  extant  sixth  book  as  an  integral  part  of  Hooker's 
revision.  He  observed,  without  elaboration,  that  the  content  of  the 

had  been  written  by  Hooker  and  later  interpolated  into  the  main  body  of  the  Lawes, 
perhaps  by  Hooker  himself,  but  more  likely  by  a  later  editor.  W.  Speed  Hill  found  no 
concern  in  the  last  three  chapters  of  the  traditional  Book  VI  for  the  problem  of 
"jurisdiction"  as  it  was  raised  by  the  disciplinarians  with  regard  to  their  office  of  lay 
elders;  see  "Hooker's  Polity:  The  Problem  of  the  'Three  Last  Books,'"  Huntington 
Library  Quarterly,  34  (1971):  322-324,  330.  But  he  acknowledged  the  possible  inclu- 
sion of  Book  VI  as  integral  to  the  Lawes  in  light  of  a  new  and  detailed  commentary 
"constructed  within  the  context  .  . .  of  the  history,  occasion,  and  sponsorship  of  the 
Polity'  (p.  336). 

Keble  was  the  first  to  print  these  notes  in  his  1836  edition  of  Hooker's  Works 
(3.1:133-168);  he  was  also  the  first  to  describe  the  general  content  and  arrangement 
of  Hooker's  material  in  the  missing  draft  as  reconstructed  from  the  notes  of  Cranmer 
and  Sandys  (1888  edn.,  l:xxxvi— xxxvii);  and  see  3:xxx-xxxiii  and  105-106,  this  edn., 
and  pp.  41—43  and  233-237,  above. 



book  as  published  does  in  fact  constitute  "a  foundation  for  an  intelli- 
gent and  discriminating  treatment  of  the  whole  subject  of  lay  elders 
and  the  function  they  were  supposed  to  exercise  in  ecclesiastical 
affairs."  Hardin  Craig  accepted  this  thesis,  along  with  Houk's  further 
argument  that  the  inclusion  of  the  1648  version  of  Book  VI  with  the 
lost  draft  seen  and  commented  upon  by  Cranmer  and  Sandys  would 
have  exemplified  Hooker's  characteristic  division  of  his  material  into 
"generalities"  and  "specialties." 

Meanwhile,  on  the  basis  of  court  records  of  the  early  seventeenth 
century,  C.  J.  Sisson  identified  the  bulk  of  Book  VI  published  in  1648 
with  "the  tract  of  confession"  that  precipitated  the  disagreement  be- 
tween Lancelot  Andrewes  and  Edwin  Sandys  over  its  insertion  into  the 
Lawes  that  aborted  the  posthumous  publication  of  the  three  last  books 
by  Hooker's  literary  executors.  Sisson  also  added  substantially  to  the 
case  for  regarding  the  1648  version  of  Book  VI  on  internal  grounds  as 

Hooker's  long  discussion  of  confession,  public  and  private,  in  the 
light  of  its  history,  ends  with  a  statement  of  the  present  position 
of  the  Church  of  England  in  the  matter,  and  asserts  the  'peniten- 
tial jurisdiction'  of  its  ministers,  and  'our  power  and  authority  to 
release  sin'.  Confession,  penitence  and  absolution,  in  his  view, 
are  the  safeguards  of  the  principal  means  of  grace,  the  Eucharist, 
and  the  discipline  is  in  the  hands  of  the  appointed  ministers  of 
the  Church.  Nothing  could  be  more  germane  than  this,  and 
other  arguments  in  the  'tract',  to  the  general  question  of  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  ministry,  as  against  that  of  lay-elders,  (p.  105) 

While  he  did  not  address  the  basic  issue  of  the  relation  of  the 
original  missing  draft  of  Book  VI  to  the  traditional  published  version 
of  1648,  Rudolph  Almasy  largely  reconstructed  the  original  lost  draft 
by  reading  the  Notes  of  Cranmer  and  Sandys  in  the  context  of  the 

5  Book  VIII  (1931),  pp.  71-72,  101. 
"Of  the  Laws  of  Ecclesiastical  Polity — First  Form,"  p.  98. 

7  Sisson,  pp.  14-17,  99-102,  and  127-56.  See  also  Hill,  "The  Problem  of  the 
'Three  Last  Books,'  "  pp.  321—326;  Stanwood,  Textual  Introduction,  3:xiii— xix;  and 
Laetitia  Yeandle,  Textual  Introduction,  5:xiii-xvii,  this  edn. 


Book  VI 

polemical  literature  of  the  time,  and  especially  in  light  of  the  Whit- 
gift-Cartwright  exchange.  The  most  comprehensive  case  to  date, 
however,  for  understanding  the  traditional  Book  VI  as  an  essential  and 
coherent  part  of  Hooker's  refutation  of  the  disciplinarian  office  of  lay 
elders  (and  of  his  corollary  effort  not  only  to  defend  but  also  to  reform 
and  further  establish  the  existing  orders  and  institutions  of  the  Church 
in  England)  has  been  made  on  the  basis  of  internal  evidence  by  Olivier 
Loyer  and  A.  S.  McGrade. 

However  great  the  misfortune  that  the  initial  draft  (and,  possibly,  a 
completed  revision)  was  lost,  the  discovery  of  new  manuscripts,  the 
cumulative  insights  of  these  scholars,  and  further  investigation  into  the 
interrelated  history  of  penance,  church  discipline  (especially  excommu- 
nication), and  ecclesiastical  courts  taken  together  now  make  possible  the 
reconstruction  of  a  reasonably  accurate  version  of  the  missing  Book  VI. 

The  following  reconstruction  of  a  hypothetically  complete  Book  VI 
is  the  one  defended  and  analyzed  in  the  remaining  sections  of  this 
Introduction.  1648  refers  to  the  traditional  Book  VI  (3:1-103),  1593 
to  the  original  and  now  lost  manuscript  of  Book  VI  that  can  be 
partially  reconstructed  from  Cranmer's  and  Sandys's  Notes  (3:107— 
140),  the  foliation  refers  to  that  of  Hooker's  lost  manuscript  record- 
ed by  Cranmer  and  Sandys  in  the  left  margin  of  these  Notes,  and 
"Autograph  Notes"  refers  to  those  parts  of  Dublin  MS.  364  that  deal 
with  Book  VI  (3:466.16-490.6). 

I.    General  Introduction 

A.  Historical  situation  and  rhetorical  appeal  (1648:  chap.  1) 

B.  The  nature  of  spiritual  jurisdiction — elaborated  in  terms  of  its 
chief  end,  repentance  (1648:  chap.  2;  1593:  fol.  1,  3:107.8- 
26,  130.18-26;  Autograph  Notes:  3:466.16-469.13) 

"Richard  Hooker's  Book  VI:  A  Reconstruction,"  Huntington  Library  Quarterly, 
42  (1979):  117-139. 

9  Loyer,  1:63-78,  2:609-610,  721-723,  and  McGrade,  "Repentance  and  Spiritual 
Power,"  Journal  oj  Ecclesiastical  History,  29.2  (1978):  163-176;  see  also  Stanwood,  3:xiii, 
xxvi-xliv,  and  Lee  W.  Gibbs,  "Richard  Hooker's  Via  Media  Doctrine  of  Repent- 
ance," Harvard  Theological  Review,  84  (1991):  59-74. 

Keble's  summary  of  its  topics  (l:xxxvi)  is  reprinted  above,  3:xxxii— xxxiii. 



II.  Spiritual  Jurisdiction — The  Inner  Penitential  Forum:  administra- 
tion of  the  power  of  the  keys,  binding/ excommunicating  and 
loosing/absolving  a  clerical  and  not  a  lay  office;  confession  and 
declaration  of  absolution  in  the  ancient  church  and  in  the 
Church  of  England  public  and  not  a  sacrament  administered  in 

A.  The  virtue  and  discipline  of  repentance;  the  infused  virtue  of 
contrition  as  the  first  part  of  repentance  (1648:  chap.  3) 

B.  Confession  as  the  second  part  of  repentance  (1648:  chap.  4) 

C.  Satisfaction  as  the  third  part  of  penance  (1648:  chap.  5,  chap. 
6.15-18,  3:97.9-103.19) 

D.  Absolution  (1648:  chap.  6.1-14,  3:69.14-97.8) 

III.  Spiritual  Jurisdiction — The  External  Canonical  Forum  (1593: 
fols.  2-85,  3:108.1-130.11,  130.27-140.12;  Autograph  Notes, 

A.  Ecclesiastical  courts  (1593:  fols.  2-21,  3:108.1-112.31,  130. 
27-134.5;  Autograph  Notes,  3:469.14-490.6) 

1 .  What  causes  are  spiritual;  the  qualifications  of  ecclesiasti- 
cal court  judges  (1593:  fols.  2-4,  3:108.1-23,  130.36- 
132.13;  Autograph  Notes:  3:471.31-477.14,  486.13- 

2.  The  form  and  manner  of  proceeding  in  ecclesiastical 
causes  (Autograph  Notes,  3:477.19-481.23) 

3.  The  punishments  necessary  in  spiritual  process  (1593: 
fols.  5-21,  3:108.24-112.31,  132.14-134.5;  Autograph 
Notes:  3:481.24-483.2) 

4.  The  care  which  justice  hath  always  had  to  uphold  ecclesi- 
astical jurisdictions  and  courts  (Autograph  Notes:  3:483. 

B.  Refutation  of  disciplinarian  proof-texts  from  Scripture  and 
the  church  Fathers  (1593:  fols.  23-85,  3:113.1-130.11,  134. 

1.  The  disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders  has  no  foundation 
in  the  Old  Testament;  the  polity  of  the  people  of  God 
before  Christ,  especially  as  manifest  in  the  Sanhedrin,  was 
not   therefore    "transferred"   by   Christ   to   the   church 


Book  VI 

(1593:  fols.  23-49,  3:113.1-117.34,  134.6-136.26) 

2.  The  disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders  has  no  foundation 
in  the  New  Testament — the  time  of  Christ  and  his  apos- 
tles (1593:  fols.  50-67,  3:117.35-126.16,  136.27-138.30) 

3.  The  disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders  has  no  foundation 
in  the  teaching  of  the  church  Fathers  (1593:  fols.  72-85, 
3:127.13-130.11,  139.18-140.12) 

This  hypothetical  reconstruction  implies  that  even  though  the  office 
of  "lay  elders"  was  the  particular  issue  that  Hooker  was  to  discuss  at 
this  point,  his  manner  of  arguing  from  foundations  or  "first  principles" 
meant  that  either  initially  or  in  revision,  the  general  discussion  of 
"jurisdiction"  as  a  basis  for  what  was  to  follow  in  Books  VI— VIII 
became  the  major  topic  (I,  II,  and  III.A  of  the  above  outline),  and  the 
appropriate  disposition  of  the  issue  of  lay  elders  a  necessary  conclusion 

U.  Occasion  and  Date 

The  discovery  of  Hooker's  Autograph  Notes  provides  the  most 
substantial  evidence  for  establishing  the  coherence  not  only  of  the  lost 
original  and  the  extant  traditional  versions  of  Book  VI  but  also  of  "the 
three  last  books"  as  a  whole.  A  common  outline  of  topics  can  be 
discerned  in  the  works  of  Hooker's  disciplinarian  opponents,  Walter 
Travers,  the  anonymous  Admonitioners,  and  Thomas  Cartwright. 
Behind  them  the  general  sequence  of  topics  and  much  of  the  content 
treated  by  the  precisionists  can  be  discerned  in  the  fourth  book  of 
Calvin's  Institutes. 

Although  the  foundation  of  Hooker's  book  against  lay  elders,  along 
with  that  of  the  other  books  of  the  Lawes,  was  laid  in  the  1585-1586 
Temple  controversy  with  Travers,     Book  VI  had  a  special  relevance 

Since  Calvin  was  a  principal  source  for  all  English  disciplinarians,  and  since 
Whitgift  and  Travers  both  followed  the  outline  of  topics  and  arguments  set  forth  in 
the  first  and  second  Admonitions,  Hooker  was  necessarily  indebted  to  this  same  order 
of  topics  when  he  took  up  where  Whitgift  left  off  in  answering  Cartwright. 

Walton,  Life,  in  Keble,  1:51-52,  65,  67.  Part  of  the  debate  between  Hooker 



to  Hooker's  dispute  with  Travers  there,  for  not  only  did  Travers  want 
to  see  the  Calvinist  model  of  church  polity,  including  the  office  of  lay 
elders,  established  throughout  England,  he  moved  to  put  it  in  place  in 


the  Temple  church  itself.  A  decade  earlier,  he  had  laid  down  the 
essential  disciplinarian  tenets  with  regard  to  the  office  of  lay  elders.  In 
A  Full  and  Plaine  Declaration,  Travers  had  argued  that  the  office  of 
lay  elders,  who  assist  the  preaching  and  teaching  elders  with  the 
overseeing  of  the  morals  of  the  faithful,  is  a  part  of  that  polity  for  the 
church  that  was  once  and  for  all  divinely  revealed  in  Holy  Scripture. 
Travers  compares  the  consistory  of  elders  (both  clergy  and  lay)  in 
the  local  parish  with  the  ancient  Athenian  court  known  as  the  Areo- 
pagus, with  the  Roman  Senate,  and  with  the  assembly  of  elders  in  the 
Jewish  synagogues.  Citing  the  key  passage  from  Matthew  18:17,  "Tel 
it  unto  the  Church" — a  text  central  to  Hooker's  argument  in  both 
versions  of  Book  VI — Travers  concludes  that  the  form  of  government 
among  the  Jews  was  "translated"  by  Christ  to  his  church.  In  short,  the 
office  of  lay  elders  has  its  original  precedent  and  legitimation  in  the 
government  of  the  Jews  described  in  the  Old  Testament;  it  is  con- 

and  Travers  at  the  Temple  was  over  the  form  of  church  government,  and  part  was 
doctrinal.  In  the  dispute  over  the  sermons  on  justification,  for  example,  Travers  was 
distressed  with  Hooker's  thesis  that  "they  of  the  church  of  Rome  may  be  saved  by  such  a 
fayth  of  Christ  as  they  have  and  a  generall  repentaunce  of  all  their  errours,  not  withstanding 
theire  opinion  of  justification  in  part  by  theire  workes  and  merits"  (5.201.29—202.3,  this  edn.; 
compare  Justification,  5:142.1—5).  Hooker  also  rejected  in  these  sermons  the  Roman 
Catholic  "sacramente  (as  they  terme  it)  of  pennaunce,  which  sacramente  hath  force  to 
conferre  grace  anewe"  and  "changeth  the  punishemente  eternall  into  a  temporall 
satisfactory  punishemente"  (5:111.28-112.2) — positions  Hooker  also  attacks  in  the 
1648  Book  VI. 

13  See  Hill,  "Evolution,"  S.R.H.,  p.  122  and  nn.  19-21. 

Ecclesiasticae  disciplinae  .  .  .  explicatio,  trans.  Cartwright,  pp.  6—7,  155—177  (see  pp. 
150-151,  n.  49,  above);  and  see  Hill,  "Evolution,"  p.  120,  n.  12.  Travers's  defense  of 
the  office  of  congregational  lay  elders  within  the  larger  context  of  Calvinist  discipline 
was  followed  by  a  number  of  his  colleagues,  including  William  Fulke,  A  Briefe  and 
Plaine  Declaration,  also  known  as  A  Learned  Discourse  (London:  R.  Waldegrave,  1584; 
STC  10395),  Dudley  Fenner,  A  Counter-poyson  (London:  R.  Waldegrave,  [1584]; 
STC  10770),  and  John  Udall,  A  Demonstration  of  the  Trueth  of  that  Discipline  ([East 
Molesey:  R.  Waldegrave,  1588];  STC  24499).  For  a  bibliographical  summary,  see 
Milward,  pp.  77-83. 


Book  VI 

firmed  by  the  teachings  of  the  New  Testament  and  by  the  early 
church  Fathers. 

Travers  further  distinguishes  between  the  kinds  of  punishment  that 
may  rightly  be  meted  out  by  a  spiritual  court  of  ecclesiastical  elders 
that  has  jurisdiction  over  the  souls  and  consciences  of  persons:  admo- 
nitions that  are  verbal  only  and  admonitions  that  have  some  kind  of 
punishment  attached.  The  only  kinds  of  punishment  that  may  be 
legitimately  imposed  by  a  spiritual  court  are  separation  or  exclusion 
from  the  Lord's  Supper,  excommunication  or  expulsion  from  the  church 
imposed  upon  adamant  sinners  who  cannot  otherwise  be  brought  to 
repentance,  and  perhaps  execration  or  anathema.  Travers  follows  Calvin  in 
assuming  that  the  civil  authorities  will  enforce  with  their  coercive 
powers  the  decisions  of  the  spiritual  courts:  excommunication  carried — 
at  least  theoretically — the  civil  penalty  of  a  break  in  all  communication 
with  "the  faithful."  Only  Luther,  among  the  magisterial  Reformers, 
broke  the  link  between  ecclesiastical  excommunication  and  civil 

Travers  argues  at  some  length  that  ecclesiastical  courts  made  up  of 
assemblies  of  elders  do  not  infringe  upon  the  prince's  authority  in  the 
civil  courts,  for  they  do  not  deal  with  civil  matters  or  use  punishments 
meted  out  by  the  civil  courts,  whether  monetary  fines,  imprisonment, 
or  execution.  In  this  context,  Travers  sharply  criticizes  the  established 
ecclesiastical  court  system  in  England  for  confusing  ecclesiastical  and 
civil  cases,  for  trivializing  the  use  of  excommunication,  and  for  using 
corporal  and  material  punishments  that  are  not  fitting  for  spiritual 
jurisdiction.  He  also  mentions  in  passing  that  the  authority  of  the 
elders  to  impose  a  sentence  of  suspension  or  excommunication  implies 
their  authority  to  lift  the  sentence  at  the  time  of  an  individual's  re- 

Travers's  platform  had  already  been  formulated  in  the  first  and 
second  Admonitions  to  Parliament,  which  in  turn  were  grounded  in  the 
Genevan  polity.  Perusal  of  the  Admonitions  reveals  the  same  pattern  of 
defending  the  office  of  lay  elders  as  an  essential  part  of  the  larger 
presbyterian  platform  of  ecclesiastical  polity,  alongside  discussions  of 
the  same  interrelated  issues  of  church  discipline  (private  admonition, 
suspension,  excommunication,  execration  or  anathema,  and,  upon 
repentance,  absolution),  bishops  and  their  courts,  and  the  proper  rela- 



tion  of  the  lay  prince  to  the  church  in  general  and  to  its  discipline  in 

Although  confrontation  with  Travers  at  the  Temple  provided  the 
initial  impulse  for  Hooker  to  write  the  Lawes,  Cartwright,  who  had 
contributed  the  most  substantial  theological  treatises  in  defense  of  the 
disciplinarian  cause,  emerged  as  the  major  opponent  responsible  for 
precipitating  an  attack  upon  the  whole  movement  from  a  quite  differ- 
ent strategic  perspective.  Cartwright's  last  two  treatises,  The  Second 
Replie  (1575)  and  The  Rest  of  the  Second  Replie  (1577),  had  remained 
unanswered  by  Whitgift,  who  had  become  archbishop  of  Canter- 
bury, where  he  was  instrumental  in  securing  Hooker's  maintenance  in 
1591  through  appointments  to  benefices  at  Boscombe  and  Salisbury. 
In  the  meanwhile,  Hooker  continued  his  primary  residence  in  London 
at  the  home  of  his  father-in-law,  John  Churchman,  where  he  worked 
on  the  Lawes  in  consultation  with  Cranmer,  Sandys,  and  perhaps 
Whitgift  until  being  presented  to  the  living  of  Bishopsbourne  by  the 



The  entire  controversy  between  Whitgift  and  Cartwright  strictly 
followed  the  outline  of  topics  set  out  in  the  first  Admonition.  Whitgift's 
initial  treatise,  An  Answere  to  a  Certen  Libell  intituled,  An  Admonition, 
was  a  step-by-step  refutation.  On  one  occasion,  for  example, 
Cartwright  rebuked  Whitgift  for  the  "impropriety"  of  departing  from 
the  prescribed  order  by  discussing  the  topic  of  excommunication  before 

An  Admonition  to  the  Parliament  (STC  10847),  and  A  Second  Admonition  to  the 
Parliament  (STC  4713;  both  1572),  in  P.M.,  pp.  8-37  and  85-133. 

While  Craig  emphasized  that  Travers,  not  Cartwright,  was  Hooker's  initial 
antagonist  (pp.  93,  96,  102-103),  Almasy  argues  that  the  Lawes  is  from  beginning  to 
end  an  answer  to  Cartwright's  attacks  against  Whitgift  ("A  Reconstruction,"  p.  118; 
compare  p.  138).  As  to  the  actual  writing  of  the  Lawes,  the  positions  of  both  Craig 
and  Almasy  must  be  taken  into  account,  for  Hooker  presupposed  and  quoted  from  the 
works  of  both.  Sandys  exhorted  Hooker:  "I  will  here  put  you  in  mynd  once  for  all, 
that  you  must  needes  set  down  Mr  Cartwrights  and  W.  T.  woords  at  large  in  the 
margent  of  this  booke  wheresoever  they  are  impugned"  (3:137.20-22);  as  did 
Cranmer:  "I  could  wishe  that  through  all  the  bookes  you  should  be  carefull  of  the 
quotations  both  of  their  sentences  and  of  other  auctorityes  alleaged  (for  in  the  former 
bookes  you  knowe  there  is  a  defect  that  way)"  (3:129.4—7). 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  54—57,  above. 


Book  VI 
considering  disciplinarian  arguments  concerning  the  origin  and  role  of 


lay  elders  in  Scripture  and  the  ancient  church. 

Whitgift's  last  published  response  to  Cartwright  on  the  issue  of  lay 
elders  was  in  Tract  17,  "Of  the  Seigniory  or  Government  by  Sen- 
iors," and  Tract  18,  "Of  Excommunication,  and  in  whom  the  execu- 
tion thereof  doth  consist,"  of  The  Defense  of  the  Aunswere  to  the  Admo- 
nition, against  the  Replie  of  T.  C.  (1574). 

Although  Cartwright's  The  Second  Replie  (1575),  and  The  Rest  of  the 
Second  Replie  (1577)  do  not  substantially  advance  the  arguments  made 
in  the  first  Replye,  Cartwright  was  satisfied  that  the  disciplinarian  order 
of  lay  elders  existed  before  the  apostles'  times,  being  "taken  from  the 
government  of  the  people  of  God  before  and  under  the  law,"  that  it 
existed  in  the  apostles'  times  as  well,  and  that  it  was  found  after  the 
apostles'  times  in  the  practice  of  the  church.  This  biblical,  apostolic, 
and  post-apostolic  foundation  for  the  disciplinarian  eldership  was  also 
the  cornerstone  for  their  hierarchy  of  tribunals  or  ecclesiastical  courts, 
beginning  with  the  local  consistories  and  extending  up  through  the 
presbyteries,  the  synods,  and  the  national  or  general  assemblies.  In  the 
draft  of  Book  VI  read  and  commented  upon  by  Cranmer  and  Sandys, 
probably  no  later  than  1593,  Hooker  resumed  the  establishment's 
attack  against  the  position  taken  by  Cartwright  and  other  disciplinari- 
ans concerning  lay  elders  and  their  involvement  with  decisions  made 


by  ecclesiastical  courts. 

Evidence  for  the  early  date  of  the  first  draft  of  Book  VI  is  both 
direct  and  indirect.  Books  II— IV  are  referred  to  by  Cranmer  as  "the 
former  bookes";  he  also  mentions  Book  VII  on  bishops.  There  is  no 

A  Replye  to  an  Answere  (1573),  p.  173;  for  bibliographical  details;  see  pp.  71-72, 
n.  152,  above. 

19  Bayne  (pp.  xix-xx),  Houk  (pp.  70,  91,  94-96),  Craig  (pp.  92-93),  Hill  ("The 
Problem,"  p.  334n),  and  Stanwood  (3:xvi,  xix-xx,  xxxi,  n.  27)  all  agree  that  the 
initial  versions  of  at  least  Books  VI  and  VII  were  completed  between  1593  and  1596. 
Evidence  for  the  probability  of  the  earlier  1593  date  is  marshalled  by  Haugaard, 
Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  37—43,  above.  Cranmer  and  Sandys  left  England  for 
the  continent  in  the  summer  of  1596.  Cranmer  did  not  return  to  England  until  1598, 
after  which  he  soon  departed  for  Ireland,  where  he  was  killed  in  1599.  Sandys  did  not 
return  to  England  until  1600/1601.  It  is  unlikely  that  either  Cranmer  or  Sandys 
travelled  in  Europe  with  a  manuscript  copy  of  Book  VI  of  the  Lawes. 



mention  of  Book  V  (published  late  1597)  or  of  Book  VIII.  Neither 
reader  alludes  to  any  matters  or  books  later  than  1593.  The  events 
suggested  in  their  notes  are  consistent  with  those  reflected  in  the  letter 
from  Cranmer  to  Hooker  Concerning  the  New  Church  Discipline,  written 


in  early  1593.  The  historical  situation  is  more  consistent  with  the 
anonymous  publication  of  Richard  Bancroft's  two  anti-disciplinarian 
treatises,  Daungerous  Positions  and  A  Survay  of  the  Pretended  Holy  Disci- 
pline in  1593  than  with  his  later  ascendancy  as  bishop  of  London 
(1597)  or  the  time  of  Hooker's  intimate  friendship  with  Hadrian 
Saravia  in  Kent  (1595—1600).  And  finally,  there  is  Sandys's  reference 
to  the  session  of  the  1593  Parliament  that  is  still  fresh  in  his  mind  (see 
pp.  27-37,  above). 

Specifically,  Sandys  alludes  to  "Mr  Speaker  of  the  Parliament"  as 
having  proved  that  the  prince  in  England  is  "a  mixt  person"  (3:133. 
26—27).  Keble  concluded  that  Sandys's  reference  here  was  to  Christo- 
pher Yelverton,  who  was  the  Speaker  in  1597;  it  is  far  more  likely, 
however,  that  Sandys  was  referring  to  the  session  of  1593  where  he 
himself  was  a  member  and  where  the  first  volume  of  Hooker's  Lawes 
was  used  to  support  the  legislation  that  would  include  disciplinarians 
with  Roman  Catholics  under  a  new  recusancy  bill.  Stanwood  has 
plausibly  argued  that  the  reference  to  "Mr  Speaker"  is  to  Speaker 
Edward  Coke's  second  "disabling"  speech  given  on  22  February,  in 
which  he  urged  that  "the  kings  of  England,  ever  since  Henry  Ill's 
time,  have  maintained  themselves  to  be  the  supreme  head  over  all 
causes  within  their  own  dominions";  but  the  reference  may  just  as 
well  have  been  to  Coke's  speech  presented  on  February  28  and 
personally  commissioned  by  Queen  Elizabeth  to  enforce  her  will  that 
the  parliament  not  legislate  concerning  church  affairs  in  general,  and 

particularly  concerning  matters  having  to  do  with  the  ecclesiastical 

_*  21 

Cranmer's  and  Sandys's  critiques  were  therefore  also  completed  in 

1593.  In  their  light,  and  as  a  result  of  his  own  further  thinking  about 

its  limited  nature,  Hooker  set  about  the  task  of  rewriting  and  rethink- 

Evidence  for  the  1593  date  is  summarized  above,  pp.  41—43. 
See  3:xxxi,  this  edn.  For  the  first  speech,  see  The  Parliamentary  or  Constitutional 
History  of  England  (London,  1763),  4:347-348;  for  the  second,  see  4:394-396. 


Book  VI 

ing  his  initial  draft.  Part  of  the  transitional  stage  in  the  revision  of 
Book  VI  can  be  discerned,  as  McGrade  points  out  (pp.  237—239, 
above),  in  that  part  of  Hooker's  Autograph  Notes  directly  pertaining 
to  Book  VI  (3:466.16—490.6),  where  Hooker  seems  to  be  gathering  a 
mass  of  legal  texts  in  response  to  Sandys's  request  that  he  identify  and 
justify  those  cases  which  legitimately  fell  under  the  jurisdiction  of 
ecclesiastical  courts  and  that  he  distinguish  them  from  those  cases  that 
were  "mixed,"  that  is,  validly  treated  in  the  civil  courts  as  well. 
Because  of  Hooker's  citation  of  the  second  edition  of  Richard  Cosin's 
An  Apologie:  of  and  for  Sundrie  Proceedings  by  Jurisdiction  Ecclesiasticall 
(1593),  Stanwood  brackets  the  time  of  their  composition  "to  the 
period  after  1593,  after  the  publication  of  the  Preface  and  Books  I— IV 
and  before  the  publication  of  Book  V  in  1597"  (3:xxx). 

We  do  not  know  whether  Hooker  completed  revising  Book  VI  or 
whether  he  was  still  engaged  in  it  at  the  time  of  his  death.  The  intro- 
duction (chaps.  1—2)  of  the  1648  text  was  probably,  as  Keble  and 
others  have  observed,  either  a  part  of  or  very  similar  to  the  introduc- 
tion in  the  original  draft  read  by  Cranmer  and  Sandys.  Chapters  3— 
6  may  then  be  regarded  as  an  unfinished  draft  of  the  second  major 
part  of  the  enlarged  book.  The  final  revision  and  expansion  of  the 
third  major  part  defending  the  English  ecclesiastical  court  system  and 
refuting  concrete  arguments  for  the  disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders 
(that  is,  the  revision  of  the  initial  draft  completed  in  1593),  was  either 
cut  off  in  an  unfinished  state  by  Hooker's  premature  death,  or,  if  he 
had  in  fact  finished  it,  lost,  stolen,  or  destroyed  (see  above,  p.  249,  n. 
2,  and  pp.  237—239,  above). 

m.  Sources 

A  survey  of  Hooker's  use  of  sources  for  Book  VI  entails  an  analysis 
of  those  he  actually  employs  in  the  1648  version;  a  reconstruction  of 
those  he  used  in  the  1 593  draft  (based  upon  the  notes  of  Cranmer  and 

Initial  it  may  have  been,  but  not  short:  85  folios  in  Pullen's  hand  would  make 
it  38%  the  length  of  Book  V  or  189  pages  in  this  edition. 

The  historical  situation  alluded  to  by  Hooker  in  chap.  1  of  the  1648  text  is 
compatible  with  events  just  before  or  just  after  1593;  see  3:2.1— 21.n.,  below. 



Sandys  and  the  current  polemical  literature,  especially  the  Whitgift- 
Cartwright  exchange);  and  the  mass  of  legal  material  in  the  Autograph 
Notes  he  was  assembling  to  expand  the  section  on  ecclesiastical 
courts — a  topic  only  briefly  touched  upon  in  the  1593  draft. 

The  Traditional  1648  Version 

Many  of  Hooker's  sources  in  the  1648  text  can  be  found  in  the 
earlier  penitential  literature,  and  some  of  these  sources  overlap  cita- 
tions made  by  the  disciplinarians  in  support  of  the  office  of  lay  elders. 
As  elsewhere  in  the  Lawes,  biblical  texts  are  the  most  numerous  and 
important  of  Hooker's  sources.  In  one  notable  passage,  for  example, 
he  argues  his  own  position  (and  that  of  the  Church  of  England) 
concerning  the  declaratory  nature  of  a  priest's  absolution  almost 
entirely  on  the  basis  of  Scripture  (6.8;  3:80.30—82.20).  He  employs  the 
New  Testament  more  than  the  Old,  with  some  forty-two  direct  or 
indirect  citations  or  references  to  Old  Testament  texts  and  some 
sixty-seven  to  the  New.  Old  Testament  references  include  such 
penitential  themes  as  the  repentance  of  the  Ninevites  (Jonah);  David's 
repentance  after  being  rebuked  by  the  prophet  Nathan  (2  Samuel);  the 
penitential  Psalms  (especially  Psalms  51  and  6);  and  the  prophetic 
exhortation  to  repent  (return  to  the  Lord),  to  express  sorrow  and 
lamentations  for  sins,  and  to  seek  forgiveness  (Isaiah,  Jeremiah,  Micah, 
Malachi,  and  Joel).  References  to  the  Gospels  clearly  predominate 
among  citations  of  the  New  Testament,  beginning  with  fourteen  to 
Matthew,  seven  each  to  Luke  and  John,  and  six  to  Mark.  Three  of 
these  Gospel  texts  appear  identically  in  two  separate  places,  where 
Hooker  has  not  yet  made  up  his  mind  as  to  where  he  will  finally  leave 
the  passage.  By  far  the  most  significant  use  of  Scripture  in  the  1648 
version  of  Book  VI  is  Hooker's  repeated  reference,  both  direct  and 
indirect,  to  the  three  intimately  related  proof-texts  (Matthew  16:17— 
19,  18:15—18,  and  John  20:21—23),  whose  interpretation  is  central  to 
Hooker's  argument.  These  passages  on  the  power  of  the  keys  and  of 

References  to  Matt.  9:2,  Mark  2:7,  and  Luke  5:21  are  repeated  in  chaps.  6.1 
and  6.4  (3:69.18-20,  b,  and  c;  73.3-6  and  h). 


Book  VI 

binding  and  loosing  are  at  the  very  heart  of  the  problem  of  spiritual 
jurisdiction,  and  the  passage  in  chapter  4.1  (3:14.8—15.11)  links  the 
extant  1648  version  of  Book  VI  and  the  lost  1593  draft.  The  refer- 
ences to  the  excommunication  and  final  restoration  of  the  unrepentant 
man  in  1  Corinthians  5:1—5  and  2  Corinthians  2:6—8  in  this  same 
passage  were  also  repeatedly  cited  by  the  disciplinarians  as  proof  that 
the  whole  church,  represented  by  ministers  and  governing  lay  elders, 
was  concerned  with  matters  of  ecclesiastical  discipline.  References  to 
Acts  feature  passages  and  stories  that  deal  with  contrition,  repentance, 
and  forgiveness-restoration-absolution.  Hooker  twice  cites  James  5:14— 
16,  a  major  proof-text  for  the  office  of  lay  elders,  as  part  of  an  anti- 
Roman  argument  against  private  confession  as  a  sacrament  (4.5; 
3:23.5—26).  There  are  additional  references  to  1  and  2  Corinthians, 
Revelation,  1  Timothy,  James,  Hebrews,  1  John,  and  Romans. 

The  1648  version  of  Book  VI  is  unusual  in  comparison  with  other 
books  of  the  Lawes  in  having  only  a  single  reference  to  a  classical 
source,  namely,  to  a  quotation  from  the  Emperor  Tiberius  recorded  in 
Tacitus's  Annates  used  by  Hooker  as  a  conspicuous  heathen  example 
of  the  problems  caused  by  an  overscrupulous  conscience. 

Hooker  makes  heavy  use  of  the  church  Fathers,  both  to  expound 
his  own  thought  and  to  controvert  the  position  of  medieval  school- 
men and  sixteenth-century  Roman  Catholic  theologians  on  private 
auricular  confession  as  a  sacrament.  Cyprian  heads  the  list,  with  nine 
citations  to  his  treatise  De  lapsis  and  seven  to  his  epistles.  The  second 
largest  number  of  citations  is  made  to  two  treatises  by  Tertullian,  De 
poenitentia  and  De  pudicitia  (On  Chastity).  All  nine  references  to  the 
former  are  approbative,  particularly  where  the  public  nature  of  pen- 
ance in  the  ancient  church  is  stressed,  and  including  Tertullian's  well 

See  nn  from  3.14.8  through  15.11.  These  texts  have  a  long  and  controversial 
history  of  interpretation.  They  were  used  by  Gratian  and  later  medieval  canonists  to 
refer  both  to  the  power  of  remitting  sins  conferred  upon  all  the  apostles  and  also  to 
the  power  of  jurisdiction  inhering  in  the  papacy,  where  it  was  a  power  to  be  exer- 
cised in  the  external  canonical  forum  as  distinct  from  the  internal  forum  of  the 
sacrament  of  penance.  See  Brian  Tierney,  Foundations  of  the  Conciliar  Theory:  The 
Contribution  of  the  Medieval  Canonists  from  Gratian  to  the  Great  Schism  (Cambridge:  The 
University  Press,  1955;  rpr.  1968),  pp.  25-36. 



known  definition  of  "confession"  (e^o^oA,6yr|ai<;)  as  "a  discipline  of 
humiliation  and  submission,  framing  mens  behaviour  in  such  sort,  as 
may  be  fittest  to  moove  pitty"  (4.6;  3:24.30-25.2).  All  of  the  refer- 
ences to  De  pudicitia,  however,  are  made  within  a  very  brief  span  and 
are  all  negative,  in  accord  with  Hooker's  opinion  that  this  treatise 
reflects  Tertullian's  heretical,  post-Montanist  position  and  "the  very 
sowernesse  of  his  owne  nature"  (6.6;  3:76.6—15)  that  nothing  could 
alter  to  make  him  incline  toward  leniency  in  the  exercise  of  church 
discipline.  In  addition,  there  are  eleven  references  to  Chrysostom, 
acknowledged  to  have  been  more  lenient  than  other  church  Fathers  in 
his  views  on  forgiveness  for  post-baptismal  sins,  and  ten  references  to 
works  of  Augustine. 

Many  of  these  quotations  were  at  second  hand.  For  example, 
Hooker  probably  found  his  one  Greek  quotation  from  Chrysostom  in 
Beatus  Rhenanus's  "Admonitio  ad  lectorem  de  quibusdam  Tertulliani 
dogmatis,"  in  that  scholar's  edition  of  Tertullian's  Opera.  One  Latin 
quotation  from  Chrysostom  may  have  been  drawn  from  Jewel's 
Defence  of  the  Apologie,  and  another  from  Gratian's  Decretum.  Three  of 
the  ten  references  to  Augustine  were  quoted  by  Gratian  in  that  part  of 
the  Decretum  known  as  "Tractatus  de  poenitentia,"  and  another  was 
quoted  in  book  4  of  Peter  Lombard's  Sentences.  Of  the  six  quotations 
from  Ambrose's  De  poenitentia,  two  are  found  in  Gratian,  one  of 
which  is  also  quoted  by  Lombard.  One  of  the  two  passages  from 
Jerome  is  quoted  by  Lombard,  the  passage  from  Leo  I  is  quoted  by 
Gratian,  and  the  passage  from  Prosper  of  Aquitaine  is  quoted  both  by 
Lombard  and  Gratian.  Hooker  treats  the  church  historians  Sozomen, 
Nicephorus,  and  Socrates  in  a  brief  but  concentrated  section  concern- 
ing a  dispute  between  sixteenth-century  Roman  Catholic  theologians 
over  interpretation  of  a  decision  made  in  the  early  Greek  church  by 
Bishop  Nectarius  regarding  the  office  of  penitentiary  priests — a  dispute 

There  are  also  references  to  Ambrose's  De  poenitentia,  to  John  Cassian's  Collatio 
20,  and  to  works  by  Gregory  of  Nyssa,  Basil  the  Great  (spurious),  Pseudo-Eusebius 
Emisenus,  Jerome,  Ignatius,  Clement  of  Alexandria,  Origen,  Bishop  Basil  of  Seleucia 
in  Isauria,  Marcus  Eremus  or  Anchorita,  Bishop  Fulgentius  of  Ruspe,  Gennadius  of 
Marseilles,  Salvian  of  Marseilles,  and  Bishop  Victor  of  Vita.  See  Index  for  specific 


Book  VI 

primarily  between  Baronius  and  Robert  Bellarmine,  with  secondary 
consideration  given  to  a  position  set  forth  by  Johannes  Hessells  and 
supported  by  Pamelius  (4.8-12;  3:33.18-42.9).  All  of  the  primary  texts 
from  the  church  historians  were  cited  by  Baronius  in  his  Annates 
ecclesiastici  (footnoted  in  chap.  4.10;  3:35. u)  and  by  Bellarmine  (cited  in 
chap  4.11  and  12;  3:38.9-15,  42.5).  Calvin  discussed  the  same  texts  in 
a  passage  where  he  concludes  that  "the  keys  of  binding  and  loosing" 
were  not  given  to  the  universal  sacerdotal  order,  and  that  Nectarius 
abrogated  the  rite  of  private  confession  {Institutes,  3.4.7). 

Hooker  also  utilizes  material  from  church  councils.  There  are  five 
citations,  sometimes  in  Greek  and  sometimes  in  Latin,  of  canons  from 
the  Council  of  Nicaea — all  stressing  the  excessive  severity  of  the  early 
church  with  regard  to  the  issue  of  forgiveness  of  post-baptismal  sin 
and  the  increasing  moderation  of  that  extreme  rigorism  by  the  bish- 
ops. Three  times  he  cites  a  passage  from  the  Council  of  Florence 
(1439),  which  states  the  doctrine  of  Thomas  Aquinas  (and,  later,  of 
the  Council  of  Trent)  that  the  sacraments  of  the  Old  Law  only 
prefigured  those  of  the  New,  which  alone  contain  and  effect  grace. 
Hooker  emphasizes  the  key  text  from  the  Fourth  Lateran  Council  of 
1215,  which  brought  to  a  climax  the  development  of  the  medieval 
Catholic  doctrine  that  private  confession  before  a  priest  is  a  sacrament 
that  every  faithful  person  must  observe  at  least  once  a  year.  He  also 
makes  four  references  to  decrees  from  the  Council  of  Trent  concern- 
ing the  effectual  grace  of  the  sacraments  of  the  New  Law,  the  divine 
forgiveness  caused  by  contrition  perfected  by  charity,  and  absolution 
as  the  form  of  the  sacrament  of  penance.  Hooker  refers  twice  to  the 
Bohemian  Confession  published  in  chapter  5  of  Harmonia  confessionum 
fidei,  orthodoxarum,  et  reformatarum  ecclesiarum.  The  first  of  these  refer- 
ences has  to  do  with  the  institutionalization  within  Reformed  church- 
es of  public  confession  for  public  sins,  the  second  with  private  confes- 

There  is  a  problem  in  Hooker's  use  of  the  church  historians.  At  least  one  of  his 
five  references  to  book  5.19  of  Sozomen's  Historia  ecclesiastica,  for  example,  is  really  to 
book  12.28  of  Nicephorus's  Ecdesiasticae  historiae  libri  decern  et  octo,  not  cited  by  Hooker 
at  all;  see  3:33.20-26.n. 



sion  to  God  in  the  presence  of  ministers  as  a  merciful  ordinance  of 
great  benefit  to  individual  Christians. 

In  his  controversy  with  Rome  over  penance  as  a  sacrament,  Hook- 
er focuses  upon  Lombard's  Sentences  (five  references),  where  he  posi- 
tively cites  passages  that  distinguish  the  three  parts  of  penance  as 
contrition,  confession,  and  satisfaction,  and  that  affirm  that  it  is  God 
alone  who  is  able  to  forgive  sins  while  the  priest  in  absolution  only 
declares  divine  forgiveness.  Indeed,  the  commentaries  on  Lombard's 
Sentences  were  among  the  most  important  sources  for  the  1648  version 
of  Book  VI.  There  are  seven  references  to  works  of  Thomas:  three 
to  the  Summa  theologiae,  two  to  the  commentary  on  book  4  of  Lom- 
bard's Sentences,  and  one  each  to  De  veritate  and  Opuscula  22.  These 
seven  references  taken  by  themselves,  however,  do  not  accurately 
reflect  the  influence  of  the  Angelic  Doctor's  philosophical  theology 
upon  the  1648  version  of  Book  VI,  particularly  in  chapter  3  where 
Hooker  is  discussing  the  relation  of  the  virtue  of  repentance  as  a  habit 
to  contrition  and  to  the  broader  doctrine  of  justification.  Four  of 
Hooker's  five  citations  of  Bonaventure's  Quaestiones  super  quatuor  libros 
Sententiarum  are  positive.  Hooker  agrees  with  Bonaventure's  teaching 
that  the  remission  of  sins  occurs  only  through  faith  in  Christ  and  the 
benefits  of  his  passion  and  that  absolution  from  sin  is  due  to  the 
pardon  of  God  and  not  dependent  upon  a  priest's  absolution.  He 
rejects,  however,  Bonaventure's  teaching  that  a  priest's  absolution, 
while  not  effecting  sinners'  divine  forgiveness,  does  deliver  from 
temporal  punishments  of  purgatory.  Other  medieval  scholastic  works 
mentioned  by  Hooker  include  the  Summa  theologica  by  Alexander  of 
Hales.  He  uses  the  authority  of  the  great  medieval  Jewish  philosopher 
and  scholar,  Moses  Maimonides,  to  establish  the  origin  of  confession  in 
ancient  Judaism  and  to  explain  current  Jewish  liturgical  practices.  And  in 
his  anti-Roman  polemic  he  addresses  works  written  by  sixteenth-century 
Roman  Catholic  scholastics,  referring  twelve  times  to  Robert  Bellar- 
mine's  De  sacramento  poenitentiae  or  to  his  Controuersiam  de  sacramentis  in 



In  addition  to  those  discussed  below  by  Thomas  and  Bonaventure,  others  used 
included  those  by  Duns  Scotus,  Pierre  d'Ailly,  William  of  Ockham,  Durandus  of  Saint 
Pourcain,  Domingo  de  Soto,  John  Capreolus,  and  Petrus  Paludanus.  See  Index. 

Hooker  also  cites  annotations  on  Cyprian's  treatise  De  lapsis  and  on  Tertullian's 


Book  VI 

With  regard  to  Protestant  Reformers,  Hooker  twice  appropriates 
works  of  Calvin:  first,  the  Acta  Synodi  Tridentinae  cum  antidoto,  where 
Calvin  attacks  the  teaching  that  the  sacraments  are  only  "instrumental 
causes"  of  divine  grace,  and  second,  the  Institutes,  where  Calvin  allows 
private  confession  of  one  Christian  to  another  after  abuses  have  been 
removed.  The  single  reference  to  Jewel's  Defence  of  the  Apologie  also 
concerns  the  issue  of  "leaving  private  confession  at  liberty."  The 
apparently  isolated  nature  of  this  citation  obscures  the  importance  of 
this  work  for  the  structure  and  substance  of  the  anti-Catholic  polemic 
that  occupies  the  bulk  of  the  traditional  Book  VI.  There  is  a  single 
reference  to  a  work  by  the  French  Protestant  Antoine  la  Roche  de 
Chandieux  (1534—1591),  who  Hebraized  his  name  as  Sadeel. 

The  First  (and  Now  Missing)  Draft  of  Book  VI 

Reconstruction  of  the  sources  used  by  Hooker  in  the  now  lost 
version  of  Book  VI  is  possible  on  the  basis  not  only  of  the  Cran- 
mer-Sandys  notes  but  also  from  contemporary  polemical  literature, 
including  works  by  Travers,  the  Admonitioners,  and  especially  Cart- 
wright  on  the  one  hand,  and  by  Cosin,  Sutcliffe,  and  Whitgift  on  the 
other.  Cranmer  and  Sandys  often  only  name  the  author  or  work  being 
cited  by  Hooker,  or  that  they  would  like  to  see  cited.  At  other  times 
references  or  their  contexts  in  the  controversial  literature  are  specified. 
Close  reading  of  the  polemical  literature  usually  indicates  what  the 
source  under  discussion  was  or  was  most  likely  to  have  been.  Hooker 
cited  Old  Testament  proof-texts  widely  used  by  the  disciplinarians  to 
establish  their  office  of  lay  elders,  with  particular  emphasis  upon  those 
which  concerned  the  origins  and  nature  of  the  Jewish  Sanhedrin.  He 
therefore  dealt  with  the  key  texts  having  to  do  with  the  alleged  origin 
of  the  Sanhedrin  in  Moses'  appointment  of  the  seventy  elders  in 

De  poenitentia  by  Pamelius,  Annales  ecclesiastici  by  Baronius  (Cesare  Baronio),  De 
sacramentis  by  William  Cardinal  Allen,  Defensorium  by  Alfonso  Tostado,  the  commen- 
tary on  Thomas  Aquinas's  Contra  Gentiles  by  Ferrarius,  Commentarii  in  quatuor  Evange- 
listas  by  Juan  Maldonado,  "Admonitio  ad  lectorem  de  quibusdam  Tertulliani  dogmatis" 
by  Rhenanus  in  his  edition  of  Tertullian's  Opera,  In  epistolam  sancti  Jacobi  by  Cajetan, 
and  the  annotation  on  James  5:16  in  the  Rheims  Bible. 



Numbers  11:16-17  (understood  in  parallel  with  Moses'  appointment 
of  leaders  as  judges  over  different  divisions  of  the  people  in  Exodus 


18:25-26),  and  the  further  specification  of  the  office  of  these  elders 
as  judges  in  Deuteronomy  16:18  and  17:8-13.  2  Chronicles  19:11  was 
interpreted  to  mean  that  King  Jehosaphat  later  restored  the  original 
Mosaic  system  of  discipline.  Other  New  Testament  references  explicit- 
ly cited  by  Hooker  concern  the  participation  of  Gamaliel  (Acts  5:34- 
40  and  22:3)  and  Joseph  of  Arimathea  (Mark  15:43  and  other  Gospel 
parallels)  in  the  Sanhedrin  that  condemned  Jesus  to  death.  One  of  the 
basic  issues  at  stake  had  to  do  with  the  interpretation  of  Matthew 
18:17  (see  above,  pp.  262-263  and  n.  25).  Hooker  defined  the  general 
meaning  of anathema  on  the  basis  of  Romans  9:3,  which  he  interpreted 
in  the  light  of  Exodus  32:32-33  (as  had  the  Geneva  Bible's  editors). 
Both  Cranmer  and  Sandys  had  trouble  with  this  general  sense  of 
anathema  as  against  its  more  specific  sense  as  solemn  excommunication 
pronounced  by  a  bishop.  Hooker  also  referred  to  1  Timothy  5:14,  "I 
will  that  younger  women  marry,"  which  occurs  in  the  context  of  his 
argument  that  judicial  cases  having  to  do  with  marriage  and  divorce 
traditionally  and  properly  fall  under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  ecclesiastical 

Among  Hooker's  classical  sources,  Aristotle's  Politics  continues  to  be 
pervasive.  For  example,  in  Aristotle  as  in  Hooker,  the  discussion  of  the 
kinds  of  constitution  (7toA,iTeioc)  quickly  leads  to  a  discussion  of  the 
courts  and  their  personnel  as  drawn  either  from  all  the  citizens  or  from 
a  certain  class.  Hooker  probably  drew  from  Aristotle  his  references  to 
Draco,  the  Athenian  statesman  and  lawgiver  of  the  seventh  century 
BC,  infamous  for  the  severity  of  punishment  in  his  laws,  and  to  Solon, 
the  Athenian  lawgiver  associated  by  Aristotle  with  the  Areopagus — a 
court  mentioned  both  by  Travers  in  A  Full  and  Plaine  Declaration  and 
by  Cranmer  (3:113.33-34).  Moreover,  Aristotle's  well  known  distinc- 
tion between  the  major  kinds  of  government  (monarchy,  oligarchy, 

The  disciplinarian  William  Fulke  based  the  presbyterian  teaching  about  the  lay 
eldership  on  Numbers  11:16  in  A  Briefe  and  Plaine  Declaration  (1584),  pp.  19-20.  John 
Bridges  and  Matthew  Sutcliffe  deny  that  the  elders  came  from  the  seventy;  see 
Bridges'  A  Defense  of  the  Government  Established  (1587),  p.  238,  and  Sutcliffe's  De 
presbyterio  (1591),  chap.  4,  p.  16,  and  chap.  2,  pp.  7  and  9. 


Book  VI 

democracy,  and  "mixt")  lies  behind  the  whole  controversy  between 
supporters  of  the  establishment  and  the  disciplinarians  over  church 
polity  in  general  and  over  the  role  of  lay  elders  within  it  (see 
3:113. 35. n).  Hooker's  other  classical  sources  consist  of  a  passage  from 
Lucretius'  De  rerum  natura,  concerning  Epicurus's  opinion  that  the 
world  was  not  created  by  God — a  comfort  to  the  conscience  of  the 
nonbeliever — and  another  from  Livy's  Decades. 

Cranmer  lists  references  to  the  church  Fathers  that  Hooker  had  to 
consider  because  they  were  alleged  by  his  opponents  in  support  of  the 
office  of  lay  elders:  Ignatius,  Cyprian,  and  Jerome  (3:128).  Hooker 
referred  to  Ignatius  on  the  first  folio  of  his  manuscript,  and  Cranmer 
urged  him  to  quote  the  passage.  Hooker  cites  Gregory  of  Nyssa 
twice.  There  are  at  least  three  references  to  chapter  39  of  Tertullian's 
Apologeticus  aduersus  Gentes,  a  text  vigorously  disputed  in  the  Cartwright- 
Whitgift  exchange  and  by  Sutcliffe  as  well.  Hooker  also  considered 
passages  that  had  been  quoted  by  Cartwright  in  support  of  the  disci- 
plinarian office  of  lay  elders  from  one  of  Cyprian's  Epistles,  from 
Jerome's  Aduersus  Luciferanos,  and  from  chapter  5  of  Pseudo-Ambrose's 
Commentarii  in  epistolam  ad  Timotheum  I.  The  only  early  church  histori- 
an mentioned  by  Hooker  was  Socrates,  whose  statement  in  Historia 
ecclesiastica  concerning  presbyters  in  Alexandria  who  were  not  allowed 
to  address  the  public  after  the  Arian  disturbance  had  been  cited  by 
Cartwright  in  The  Rest  of  the  Second  Replie. 

From  canon  law,  Hooker  cited  a  passage  from  the  Decretales  of 
Gregory  IX  concerning  Pope  Innocent  Ill's  disavowal  of  temporal 
jurisdiction  in  the  dispute  between  King  John  and  Philip  Augustus  in 
1204 — a  text  that  was  also  recorded  in  the  Autograph  Notes  (3:486.3— 
7;  see  also  393.29—394.7).  Hooker's  medieval  sources  also  included  at 

Keble  argues  that  this  reference  to  Ignatius  may  be  one  of  the  few  places  where 
the  copy  of  the  original  Book  VI  seen  by  Cranmer  and  Sandys  agreed  with  the 
present  Book  VI.  This  would  be  the  case  if  Hooker  actually  referred  to  chap.  9  of 
Ignatius's  Epistola  ad  Smymaeos,  which  he  quotes  in  chap.  2.1  (3:4.20-22  and  »').  But 
given  the  context  of  the  controversy  and  Hooker's  contemporary  sources,  the 
reference  may  just  as  well  have  been  to  chap.  3  of  Ad  Trallianos,  mentioned  by 
Cranmer  (3:127.14—17),  and  quoted  by  Cartwright  in  The  Rest  of  the  Second  Replie  and 
by  Sutcliffe  on  the  first  page  of  De  presbyterio. 



least  one  reference  to  Elias  the  Levite  (1472—1549),  the  Hebrew 
scholar  whose  Thisbetes  Hooker  had  cited  twice  in  Book  V  (20.3  and 
73.6;  2:74.«  and  404.z).  With  regard  to  sixteenth-century  Roman 
Catholic  scholastics,  Hooker  referred  to  a  comment  by  Pamelius,  who 
published  annotated  editions  of  the  works  of  Tertullian  and  Cyprian. 
Cranmer  dismissed  Pamelius  as  "a  papist,"  whose  opinion  about  what 
was  or  was  not  written  by  the  ancient  church  Fathers  did  not  have 
much  credibility  (3:128.17).  Among  the  works  by  the  English  reform- 
ers, Hooker  certainly  had  in  front  of  him  not  only  the  works  written 
by  Whitgift  against  the  disciplinarians  but  also  those  written  by  Sut- 
cliffe.  The  core  of  Hooker's  argument  in  the  original  version  of  Book 
VI  had  already  been  set  forth  in  the  latter's  A  Treatise  of  Ecclesiasticall 
Discipline  (1590)  and  in  De  presbyterio  (1591).  And  he  must  also  have 
been  cognizant  of  the  substance  of  the  two  works  published  in  1593 
by  Richard  Bancroft,  A  Suruay  of  the  Pretended  Holy  Discipline  and 


Daungerous  Positions. 

Material  Related  to  Book  VI  in  the  Autograph  Notes 

Those  of  Hooker's  Autograph  Notes  that  deal  specifically  with 
Book  VI  were  compiled  in  response  to  critical  comments  made  by 


Sandys  (3:130—133)  and  are  almost  exclusively  legal  in  character. 
Hooker  drew  heavily  for  material  to  be  added  to  his  discussion  of  the 
English  ecclesiastical  courts  and  the  cases  that  fell  under  their  jurisdic- 
tion from  William  Lyndewode's  Provinciale  (see  below,  pp.  295—296 
and  n.  66).  He  also  drew  extensively  from  the  Decretales  of  Gregory 
IX,  from  Justinian's  Digest  in  the  Roman  civil  law,  and  from  the  De 
legibus  et  consuetudinibus  Angliae  of  the  great  thirteenth-century  English 
jurist,  Henry  de  Bracton.  And  he  had  the  second  edition  of  Richard 
Cosin's  An  Apologie:  of,  and  for  Sundrie  Proceedings  by  Jurisdiction  Ecclesi- 
asticall (1593)  to  help  him  in  his  defense  of  the  ecclesiastical  courts 
against  the  charges  of  the  disciplinarians,  in  his  identification  of  those 

See  n.  35,  pp.  20-21,  above. 
33  See  above,  pp.  237-242,  and  nn  to  3:469.14-490.6. 


Book  VI 
cases  which  traditionally  and  legitimately  fell  under  the  jurisdiction  of 


those  courts,  and  in  his  defense  of  the  oath  ex  officio. 

iv.  The  Argument 

1.  Spiritual  Jurisdiction  in  General 

Since  Hooker  came  to  envision  Book  VI  as  less  a  refutation  of  the 
disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders  than  a  defense  of  the  spiritual  disci- 
pline established  in  the  church  and  commonwealth  of  England,  two 
descriptions  of  this  office,  which  Hooker  and  his  fellow  apologists  felt 
would  undermine  order  and  authority  in  both  church  and  state  are 
germane.  The  first  is  from  one  of  Hooker's  colleagues,  Matthew  Sut- 
cliffe,  who,  despite  a  clear  establishment  bias,  gives  a  concise  appraisal 
of  the  lay  elders  and  their  functions: 

First,  the  Elders  shall  have  authoritie  to  make  all  orders  and 
decrees,  and  abrogate  the  same.  Secondlie,  they  shall  have  power 
to  chuse  officers  in  the  Church,  and  to  depose  them.  Thirdlie, 
they  shall  be  judges  in  all  causes  of  faith,  doctrine,  and  manners, 
so  farre  as  appertaineth  to  conscience.  Lastlie,  (that  they  want  no 
meanes  to  bring  under  the  rebellious)  they  shall  have  authoritie 
to  admonish,  suspend,  excommunicate,  and  absolve. 

Another  useful  description  of  the  authority  exercised  by  presbyterian 
lay  elders  acting  in  concert  with  ordained  clergy  to  oversee  spiritual 
and  moral  affairs  in  local  parishes  has  been  given  by  Patrick  Collinson: 

Many  Protestants  had  for  long  agreed  that  spiritual  and  moral 
discipline  could  be  usefully  furnished  in  the  local  church  by  means 
of  the  congregational  consistory:  a  court  composed  of  the  pastor 
and  the  lay  officers  called  elders,  in  some  measure  representative 
of  and  responsible  to  the  congregation.  The  presbyterians  insisted 
on  the  absolute  necessity  of  this  institution,  as  alone  embodying 
New  Testament  discipline,  for  them  an  indispensable  mark  of  a 

See  Autograph  Notes,  3:481.18,  and  3:xxi. 
35  A  Treatise  Of  Ecclesiasticall  Discipline  (1590),  p.  126. 



true  church. . . .  The  presbyterians  condemned  both  [the  higher 
government  of  the  church  by  Christian  magistrates  or  by  bishops] 
out  of  hand.  The  rule  of  magistrates  was  excluded  by  the  distinc- 
tion of  Church  and  Commonwealth  as  two  separate,  if  interde- 
pendent spheres  of  authority.  The  rule  of  bishops  was  dismissed 
by  claiming  on  biblical  authority  the  parity  of  both  congregations 
and  pastors. 

When  it  is  recalled  that  the  presbyterian  polity  further  prescribed  in 
place  of  the  ecclesiastical  rule  of  magistrates  or  bishops  the  federation 
of  individual  congregations  in  a  graduated  series  of  representative 
courts  composed  of  ministers  and  elders  from  the  local  churches,  all 
the  way  from  the  local  classis  or  regional  presbytery  through  the 
provincial  synods  to  nationally  and,  ideally,  universal  assemblies — one 
can  begin  to  grasp  how  revolutionary  such  a  polity  would  have  been 
for  Elizabethan  English  life.  Hooker  begins  his  refutation  of  lay  elders 
with  a  rhetorical  reference  to  "the  tyme  of  silence  which  both  partes 
have  taken  to  breath"  after  a  sharp  and  bitter  conflict  as  a  time  to 
listen  more  calmly  to  reason  concerning  the  weightiest  and  last  re- 
maining subjects  to  be  taken  up  in  the  last  three  books.  He  aligns 
himself  with  those  apologists  of  the  establishment  who  have  argued 
that  the  whole  platform  of  church  discipline  proposed  by  his  oppo- 
nents is  intended  "to  wrest  the  key  of  spirituall  authoritie  [or  jurisdic- 
tion] out  of  the  hands  of  former  governors"  [that  is,  bishops  and  the 
Prince],  and  to  place  this  authority  in  the  hands  of  local  parish  pastors. 
In  order  to  assure  the  success  of  this  revolution  against  established 
jurisdiction,  Hooker  insinuates  that  the  disciplinarian  pastors  have  even 
been  willing  to  compromise  their  own  authority  by  "pretending"  that 
the  people  (in  this  case,  lay  elders  with  no  "habilitie"  or  just  claim)  are 

li  ,,38 

necessane  actors. 
Hooker  then  distinguishes  two  kinds  of  spiritual  or  ecclesiastical 

36  E.P.M.,  pp.  105-106;  also,  pp.  298-299. 

For  an  account  of  the  historical  situation  referred  to  in  chap.  1.1—2  (3:2.1—3.8), 
see  above,  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  22—37,  and  nn  to  3:2.1—21  and  133.27; 
see  also  Collinson,  E.P.M.,  p.  431. 

38  A  similar  argument  is  made  in  Pref.  3.5-12  and  2.4  (1:15.6-18.32  and  6.31-7.20). 


Book  VI 

power:  that  of  order  and  that  of  jurisdiction  (2.1—2;  3:4.7—6.4).  It  is  by 
the  power  of  order  that  the  threefold  ministry  of  bishops,  priests,  and 
deacons  is  consecrated — set  aside  from  the  laity — by  receiving  special 
gifts  of  the  Holy  Spirit  in  ordination  for  the  purpose  of  performing 
divine  duties  in  the  church  (discussed  previously  in  V.76.1—  78.12; 
2:413.20—447.26).  The  power  of  jurisdiction  includes  both  the  role  of 
priests  as  judges  in  the  administration  of  penitential  discipline  and  the 
juridical  power  to  dictate  law  and  administer  it  through  the  ecclesiasti- 
cal courts. 

It  is  helpful  to  recall  that  the  term  "jurisdiction"  is  ambiguous  and, 
since  the  origin  of  the  church,  has  caused  confusion  and  controversy. 
The  legal  connotation  of  the  term  is  evident:  jurisdiction  is  the  power 
to  dictate  law  and  to  enforce  it.  The  word  therefore  designates  the 
administrative  and  juridical  organization  of  the  church,  including  the 
ecclesiastical  courts  which  interpret  and  apply  the  canon  law.  But 
jurisdiction  also  designates  something  else,  for  the  church  is  a  govern- 
ment of  souls  as  well  as  of  physical  bodies.  Hence,  jurisdiction  in  the 
church  is  also — indeed,  primarily — a  spiritual  power,  as  Hooker 
himself  observes  in  chapter  2.2  (3:5.28-32).  In  the  early  church,  where 
confession  and  ecclesiastical  discipline  were  almost  exclusively  public, 
there  was  no  distinction  between  the  administration  of  penance 
(hearing  confessions,  judging  proper  works  of  satisfaction,  imposing 
excommunication  in  cases  of  obstinacy,  and  declaring  absolution)  and 
the  judicial  power  publicly  administered  by  the  bishops.  Bishops,  not 

Compare  Hooker's  Autograph  Notes,  3:466.16—469.13.  On  the  distinction 
between  spiritual  jurisdiction  as  either  "ordinary"  (that  is,  pertaining  only  to  ordained 
clergy)  or  "delegated"  (that  is,  assigned  by  the  bishops  to  their  delegated  representa- 
tives, who  may  be  laymen),  see  W.  J.  Sparrow  Simpson,  "Jurisdiction  in  Hearing 
Confessions,"  in  The  Theory  and  Practice  of  Penance  by  Priests  of  the  Anglican  Communion, 
ed.  Hubert  S.  Box  (London,  1935),  p.  48. 

"The  word  jurisdictio  itself  acquired  an  ever  broader  connotation  in  medieval 
canonistic  works  until  in  the  first  half  of  the  thirteenth  century  it  was  being  used  in 
the  general  sense  it  came  to  have  in  Canon  Law — potestas  regiminis  quae  ex  divina 
inslitutione  est  in  ecclesia";  see  Brian  Tierney,  Foundations  of  Conciliar  Theory:  The 
Contribution  of  the  Medieval  Canonists  from  Gratian  to  the  Great  Schism  (Cambridge:  The 
University  Press,  1955;  rpr.  1968),  p.  33n;  compare  Hooker's  definitions  in  chap.  2.2 
(3:5.29-32)  and  Autograph  Notes  (3:466.17-21). 



presbyters,  administered  discipline,  and  they  dealt  only  with  what  were 
regarded  as  the  occasional  more  serious  sins.  The  only  acceptable 
"satisfaction"  was  a  period  of  separation  from  communion,  and  abso- 
lution followed  that  period  rather  than  preceding  the  performance  of 
"satisfaction."  There  was,  however,  a  progressive  tendency  in  later 
centuries  to  separate  the  public  and  the  private  areas  of  ecclesiastical 
discipline.  In  the  western  church,  the  gradual  assumption  by  presbyters 
of  episcopal  ministries  that  had  formerly  been  only  occasionally  dele- 
gated to  them,  together  with  developments  of  the  Irish  penitentials, 
led  to  private  confession  and  immediate  absolution  with  satisfaction 
following.  These  developments,  increasingly  regulated  by  canon  law, 
prepared  the  way  for  the  distinction  that  was  made  during  the  twelfth 
century  between  the  power  of  order  and  the  power  of  jurisdiction, 
an  important  theological  distinction  first  made  by  Alexander  of  Hales 
during  the  thirteenth  century  in  the  context  of  interpreting  the  mean- 
ing of  the  power  of  the  keys  given  by  Christ  to  his  church.     Since 

41  F.  Donald  Logan  has  described  this  development  in  the  discrimination  of 
different  kinds  of  ecclesiastical  discipline  as  follows: 

From  the  twelfth  century  public  reconciliation  came  to  be  distinguished  from 
absolution  from  sin.  The  full  reconciliation  of  an  excommunicate  required 
absolution  from  excommunication  in  the  external  forum  as  an  act  of  jurisdic- 
tion, which  could  be  performed  even  by  a  layman,  and  absolution  from  sin  in 
the  forum  of  the  sacrament  of  penance  as  an  act  of  order  and  jurisdiction, 
which  could  be  performed  only  by  a  priest.  The  two  absolutions  became  joined 
on  the  rare  occasion  when  the  solemn  form  of  absolution  was  used;  conceivably 
a  priest  who  was  absolving  a  person  from  the  sentence  in  the  internal  forum 
might  have  absolved  him  from  the  sin  publicly  at  the  same  time.  Even  so,  the 
two  absolutions  were  formally  distinct,  having  different  objects  and  being 
performed  by  virtue  of  different  authorities. 

See  Excommunication  and  the  Secular  Arm  in  Medieval  England:  A  Study  in  Legal  Procedure 
from  the  Thirteenth  to  the  Sixteenth  Century  (Toronto:  Pontifical  Institute  of  Mediaeval 
Studies,  1968),  p.  138. 

42  Summa  theologica,  4a.20.8.1;  and  4a.22.1.4;  (Venice,  1525),  4:338  and  439.  On 
the  medieval  development  of  the  distinction  between  the  internal  penitential  forum 
and  the  external  canonical  forum,  see  Francois  Russo,  "Penitence  et  excommunica- 
tion: Etude  historique  sur  les  rapports  entre  la  theologie  et  le  droit  canon  dans  le 
domaine  penitentiel  du   IXe  au  XHIe  Siecle,"   Recherches  de  Science  Religieuse,  33 


Book  VI 

this  latter  distinction  is  so  crucial  to  the  overall  structure  of  the  whole 
of  Book  VI,  including  chapters  3—6  of  the  1648  version,  as  well  as  to 
the  original  missing  draft  and  to  the  Autograph  Notes,  it  is  important 
to  see  it  as  explicated  by  Thomas  Aquinas: 

The  term  "key"  is  used  in  a  twofold  way.  One  extends  itself 
immediately  to  heaven  by  removing  the  impediments  of  entrance 
into  heaven  through  the  remission  of  sin.  This  is  called  the  key  of 
order,  and  priests  alone  possess  this  because  only  they  are  ordered 
by  the  people  in  these  things  that  have  to  do  directly  with  God. 
The  other  key  does  not  directly  extend  itself  to  heaven  but 
indirectly  to  the  church  militant  through  which  one  goes  to 
heaven.  By  this  key  one  is  excluded  or  admitted  to  the  society  of 
the  church  militant  through  excommunication  and  absolution.  It 
is  called  the  key  of  jurisdiction  in  the  forum  of  causes.  Therefore, 
those  who  are  not  priests  can  have  this  key,  such  as  archdeacons, 
delegates,  and  anyone  else  who  can  excommunicate.  But  this 
second  is  not  properly  called  a  key  of  heaven  but  rather  a  disposi- 

.     43 

tion  to  it. 

In  that  part  of  the  medieval  tradition  represented  by  Giles  of  Rome 
and  Augustinus  Triumphus,  all  ecclesiastical  jurisdiction  is  seen  primar- 
ily as  residing  in  the  pope,  through  whom  it  is  possessed  by  the 
bishops.  Each  bishop's  jurisdiction  is  usually  restricted  to  his  diocese. 
On  the  one  hand,  with  regard  to  the  jurisdiction  associated  with  the 
sacrament  of  penance,  the  bishop  imparts  to  ordained  priests  the 
authority  to  hear  confessions,  impose  works  of  satisfaction,  and  ab- 
solve. But  not  all  ordained  priests  are  delegated  this  authority,  and  the 
jurisdiction  of  those  to  whom  it  is  delegated  is  usually  restricted  to  a 
parish.  On  the  other  hand,  with  regard  to  the  bishop's  canonical 
authority  in  the  external  forum,  the  power  of  jurisdiction  (including 
the  imposition  of  excommunication  and  the  lifting  of  excommunica- 
tion through  absolution)  may  be  delegated  not  only  to  archdeacons 
but  to  lay  judges  as  well.  During  the  sixteenth  century,  the  Church  of 

(1946):  257-279,  431-461. 

Sup.  Sum.,  19.3;  see  also  22.1  and  2. 



England  adopted  this  medieval  position  as  it  was  embodied  in  canon 
law,  with  two  major  exceptions:  (1)  that  "all  jurisdiction  ecclesiasticall 
within  this  realme  is  now  annexed  to  the  Imperiall  Crown"  rather 
than  to  the  pope,  and  (2)  that  penance  is  not  a  sacrament,  although 
its  administration  remains  properly  sacerdotal.  The  bishops  have  their 
sacerdotal  power  of  order  (including  the  power  of  imposing  excom- 
munication as  a  spiritual  punishment  upon  obstinate  sinners  and 
declaring  absolution  from  sins)  by  standing  in  that  line  of  spiritual 
authority  that  reaches  back  through  their  predecessors  to  the  apostles 
and  ultimately  to  Christ  himself.  This  is  part  of  the  bishop's  spiritual 
authority,  the  power  of  order,  handed  down  to  priests  in  their  ordina- 
tion. But  the  prince's  overall  authority  as  "head"  or  "supreme  govern- 
or" of  the  church  is  recognized  insofar  as  the  appointments  of  the 
bishops  must  be  made  or  approved  by  the  crown  and  the  final  au- 
thority for  the  judgments  of  all  courts,  ecclesiastical  as  well  as  secular, 
lies  with  the  crown  (see  Lawes,  VI 1 1. 8). 

Although  the  supreme  power  of  all  jurisdiction,  both  spiritual  and 
civil,  resides  in  the  prince,  the  crown  by  custom  and  law  delegates  that 
part  of  its  jurisdiction  over  spiritual  matters  to  the  bishops,  who  in 
turn  further  delegate  their  authority  in  the  external  forum  to  the 
ecclesiastical  courts  and  the  judges  (some  of  whom  may  be  laypersons) 
who  preside  over  them. 

What  Hooker  did  in  the  original  draft  of  Book  VI  was  to  give  a 
general  introduction  to  the  nature  of  spiritual  jurisdiction  (probably 
very  similar  to  that  published  in  chapter  2  of  the  1648  version),  then 
to  defend  the  established  order,  including  a  brief  defense  of  the  bish- 
ops' courts,  and  finally  proceed  to  refute  the  disciplinarian  office  of  lay 
elders  at  the  level  of  the  external  canonical  forum.  He  did  this  by 
identifying  the  disciplinarian  consistories  in  the  local  churches  (and,  by 
extension,  their  regional  presbyteries,  provincial  synods,  and  national 
assemblies)  made  up  of  their  pastors  and  doctors  and  ruling  lay  elders, 
as  spiritual  courts  that  would  replace  the  traditional  ecclesiastical  court 
system  in  England.  Hooker's  primary  argument  in  this  draft  was  not  so 
much  against  the  unordained  status  of  lay  elders  as  against  their  insuffi- 

44  1  Eliz.  I,  cap.  2,  cited  by  Hooker  in  Autograph  Notes,  3:468.19-20. 


Book  VI 

cient  knowledge  and  skill  to  determine  ecclesiastical  causes  (see  Auto- 
graph Notes,  3:471.17—18,  25—28).  There  is  no  evidence  from  the 
Cranmer-Sandys  Notes  that  Hooker  intended  to  add  a  preliminary 
section  on  spiritual  jurisdiction  at  the  level  of  the  internal  penitential 
forum.  But,  given  the  historical  and  theological  precedents,  along  with 
Hooker's  disposition  toward  systematic  thought  that  is  comprehensive 
but  not  exhaustive,  he  might  well  have  become  dissatisfied  with  his 
treatment  of  the  subject  of  lay  elders  only  at  the  level  of  the  external 
canonical  forum.  He  therefore  decided  not  only  to  revise  but  to 
expand  his  earlier  argument  by  demonstrating  that  such  penitential  acts 
as  hearing  confessions,  suspending  from  the  Lord's  Supper  for  disci- 
plinary reasons,  excommunicating  obstinate  sinners,  deciding  the 
nature  of  appropriate  works  of  satisfaction,  and  judging  the  sincerity  of 
repentance  as  a  basis  for  declaring  absolutions  were  all  sacerdotal 
functions  grounded  in  the  power  of  order,  from  which  all  laity  are 
properly  excluded.  Moreover,  Hooker's  introduction  of  repentance  at 
the  end  of  chapter  2  and  at  the  beginning  of  chapter  3  of  the  1648 
text  is  not  just  a  bridge  into  the  remaining  part  of  chapter  3  and 
chapters  4-6;  it  is  also  related  to  the  original  lost  draft  of  Book  VI  as 
well.  By  proposing  to  elucidate  the  entire  subject  of  spiritual  jurisdic- 
tion in  terms  of  its  "chiefest  end,"  "poenitency"  (2.2—3.1;  3:6.1—18), 
he  is  continuing  to  follow  the  same  practical  course  laid  out  at  the 
beginning  of  Book  I  (2.1;  1:58.22-32).  Here  too  Hooker  is  indebted 
to  Aristotle  for  his  general  doctrine  of  ends  as  causes  and  the  more 
specific  doctrine  of  the  causal  primacy  of  ends  in  practical  matters. 
And,  again  as  in  Book  I  and  in  the  introductory  chapters  (1—10)  to 
Book  V,  he  moves  the  debate  (this  time  over  lay  elders  and  the 
ecclesiastical  courts)  back  to  the  higher  level  of  general  principles. 

Penance:  Like  the  term  "jurisdiction,"  "penance"  has  an  instructive 
history  of  interpretation.  Jerome,  following  the  older  Latin  Bible, 
translated  the  Greek  ^leravoia  by  the  Latin  poenitentia,  and  the  Greek 

Concerning  the  centrality  of  repentance  in  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  and 
the  relationship  of  "repentance"  to  Hooker's  concepts  of  "commonwealth"  and 
"participation,"  identified  by  Booty  as  the  philosophical  key  to  Hooker's  theology  in 
Book  V,  see  Introduction  to  Book  V,  pp.  200-202,  above. 



verb  jLieravoeiv  by  poenitere  or  agere  poenitentiam.  The  Greek  |iET&voia 
means  "after-thought"  and,  by  extension,  "change  of  mind  and  pur- 
pose," which  is  the  primary  meaning  in  the  Scriptures.  But  the  Latin 
"poenitentia"  came  to  include  "painful  works  for  the  satisfaction  of 
sins"  that  were  therapeutic  as  well  as  punitive,  and  this  new  meaning 
was  then  read  into  the  passages  of  the  New  Testament  where  it 
occurred.  In  the  early  English  versions  of  the  Bible,  based  as  they 
were  upon  the  Vulgate,  "poenitentia"  was  generally  translated  "pen- 
ance." While  the  phrase  "do  penance"  was  abandoned  by  the  Protes- 
tant Reformers  as  not  truly  representing  the  original  Greek,  the 
substantive  "penance"  lingered  on  until  later  times,  and  is  still  found 
in  the  Commination  Service  in  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  and  in 
Article  33  of  the  Thirty-Nine  Articles.  Hooker's  repeated  tendency  to 
expound  repentance  in  terms  of  a  medical  cure  for  a  disease  points  to 
the  primacy  of  the  therapeutic  over  the  punitive  in  his  thinking  about 

i  46 

the  matter. 

The  introduction  of  repentance  as  the  major  end  of  spiritual  juris- 
diction may  thus  be  construed  as  the  foundation  for  all  of  the  remain- 
ing parts  of  the  1648  version:  the  virtue  and  discipline  of  repentance 
(the  balance  of  chap.  3),  confession  (chap.  4),  satisfaction  (chap.  5), 
and  absolution — falsely  identified  by  the  schoolmen  as  an  essential  part 
(and  for  some  of  them  the  crucial  factor)  in  their  sacrament  of  penance 
(chap.  6).  At  the  same  time,  repentance  as  the  principal  end  of  spiritu- 
al jurisdiction  also  governed  the  draft  read  by  Cranmer  and  Sandys. 

2.  Spiritual  Jurisdiction:  The  Internal  Penitential  Forum. 

Chapters  3—6  of  the  1648  version  of  Book  VI  are  undoubtedly  the 
"treatise  on  repentance"  that  was  the  crux  of  the  dispute  between 
Sandys  and  Andrewes  (see  p.  252  and  n.  7,  above).  Insofar  as  the 
argument  developed  here  is  anti-Roman,  it  reflects  Hooker's  partici- 
pation in  that  moral  revolution  of  English  Reformation  thought  that 
began  by  attacking  the  Roman  Catholic  sacrament  of  penance. 

46  See  chaps.  3.1,  4.1,  and  4.5  (3:6.12-14,  15.6-16,  and  23.5-20). 

Concerning  the  primary  end  of  ecclesiastical  courts  and  judges  as  curing  the 
souls  of  men,  see  Autograph  Notes,  3:477.20-21,  478.27-30,  and  480.15-18. 

On  the  significance  for  the  Church  of  England  of  the  rejection  of  the  sacrament 


Book  VI 

Hooker  was  often  concerned  with  Rome,  as  in  his  Discourse  of 
Justification  and  throughout  the  Lawes.  The  whole  of  Book  IV  is 
devoted  to  the  refutation  of  the  argument  "that  our  forme  of 
Church-politie  is  corrupted  with  popish  orders  rites  and  ceremonies  banished  out 
of  certaine  reformed  Churches  whose  example  therein  we  ought  to  have  fol- 
lowed" (1:271.2-7).  Therefore,  even  though  Book  VI  was  primarily 
directed  against  the  disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders,  it  was  strategical- 
ly necessary  for  Hooker  to  set  off  his  position  from  the  teaching  and 
practice  of  Rome  with  regard  to  the  nature  of  penance  and  priestly 
absolution.  This  was  especially  important  in  a  situation  where  his 
anti-Genevan  polemic  led  him  to  argue  that  the  exercise  of  penitential 
discipline  in  the  church  belongs  to  the  ordinary  power  of  spiritual 
jurisdiction  and  is  thus  the  exclusive  prerogative  of  the  ordained  minis- 

.       49 


The  accusation  of  "popery"  was  common  in  all  of  the  disciplinarian 
attacks  on  the  established  church.  Hooker  himself  had  been  so  ac- 
cused, both  by  Walter  Travers  during  the  controversy  at  the  Temple 
in  1 585-1 586,50  and  by  the  author(s)  of  A  Christian  Letter  (4:64.25- 
71.7,  this  edn.).  Thus  he  needed  to  clarify  his  position  with  regard  to 
Rome  not  only  to  refute  his  opponents  but  to  appease  his  colleagues 
as  well.  Even  in  the  missing  draft,  Cranmer  advises  him  to  delete  a 
passage  from  his  treatment  of  lay  elders  "because  it  favoureth  the 
papistes  in  some  pointes"  (3:128.3—4).  In  the  1648  version  Hooker 
wanted  to  assure  his  friends  that  his  arguments  for  denying  the  exer- 
cise of  ordinary  ecclesiastical  jurisdiction  to  the  laity  still  allowed  him 
to  be  critical  of  Rome. 

of  private  penance  and  the  substitution  of  public  confession  and  absolution  for  it,  see 
John  E.  Booty,  "The  English  Reformation:  A  Lively  Faith  and  Sacramental  Confes- 
sion," in  The  Anglican  Moral  Choice,  ed.  Paul  Elmen  (Wilton,  Conn.:  Morehouse- 
Barlow  Co.,  1983),  pp.  15-32,  251-253;  see  also  T.  W.  Drury,  Confession  and 
Absolution:  The  Teaching  of  the  Church  of  England,  as  Interpreted  and  Illustrated  by  the 
Writings  of  the  Reformers  of  the  Sixteenth  Century  (London,  1903),  pp.  xix-xx. 

Although  denying  that  penance  is  a  sacrament,  Hooker  agrees  with  the  Council 
of  Trent  concerning  the  exclusive  prerogative  of  the  ordained  ministry  with  regard  to 
the  exercise  of  penitential  discipline  within  the  church;  see  Canons  and  Decrees  of  the 
Council  of  Trent  (1941),  Fourteenth  Session,  chap.  6,  pp.  95  and  370. 

50  See  his  Supplication  (5:200.12-208.13)  and  Hooker's  Answer  (5:237.29-245.4). 

The  relevance  of  Hooker's  anti-Catholic  "tract  of  confession"  in  the  1648  text 



Having  specified  in  the  heading  of  chapter  3  that  "poenitence"  is  the 
chief  end  of  spiritual  jurisdiction  and  that  the  spiritual  health  and 
safety  of  human  souls  is  the  primary  goal  of  repentance,  Hooker 
points  out  that  sin  has  both  a  personal  and  a  public  dimension:  an 
offense  first  against  God  but  against  neighbor  and  community  as  well. 
He  then  distinguishes  the  "virtue"  and  the  "discipline"  of  repentance. 
The  first,  the  secret  inward  repentance  of  the  heart,  is  the  way  that 
the  sinner  appeases  an  offended  God  and  is  thereby  reconciled  with 
Him;  the  second  makes  restitution  to  human  beings  who  have  been 
injured  by  the  sins  and  satisfies  the  community  of  the  faithful  in  the 
church.  Hooker  emphasizes  the  essential  unity  of  the  internal  virtue 
and  the  external  discipline  in  his  explanation  of  why  he  has  chosen  to 
deal  with  them  together  in  his  subsequent  discussion  of  confession  and 
satisfaction  (3.6;  3:13.17-28). 

At  the  beginning  of  chapter  3.5,  Hooker  divides  a  penitent's  duty 
into  (1)  the  aversion  of  the  will  from  sin,  (2)  the  submission  of  the  self 
to  God  by  supplication  and  prayer,  and  (3)  the  intent  to  lead  a  new 
life,  as  witnessed  by  present  works  of  amendment.  He  relates  this 
threefold  division  of  a  penitent's  duty  to  the  corresponding  notion 
reflected  in  the  Prayer  of  Confession  in  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer, 
where  sin  is  affirmed  to  be  an  offence  against  God  in  "thought,  word, 
and  deed."  He  also  relates  this  threefold  division  to  the  school- 
men's discussion  of  the  major  parts  of  the  sacrament  of  penance: 
contrition,  confession,  and  satisfaction.  Hooker's  treatment  generally 
conforms  to  this  division:  the  balance  of  chapter  3  is  on  contrition, 
chapter  4  is  on  confession,  and  chapter  5  and  the  last  sections  of 
chapter  6  are  on  satisfaction.  Although  Hooker  does  not  indicate  at 
this  point  that  he  intends  to  treat  absolution,  he  does  in  fact  do  so  in 
the  long  beginning  sections  of  chapter  6,  for  two  major  reasons,  both 
apropos  of  the  subject  of  ordinary  spiritual  jurisdiction:  (1)  the  medi- 

to  the  defense  of  the  established  ecclesiastical  courts  and  the  refutation  of  congrega- 
tional lay  elders  in  the  first  and  now  missing  draft  (disputed  by  Keble)  is  argued  by 
McGrade  in  "Repentance  and  Spiritual  Power,"  pp.  163-176;  Loyer,  1:63-78,  2:721- 
723;  and  Josef  Koenen,  Die  Busslehre  Richard  Hookers:  Der  Versuch  einer  Anglikanischen 
Bussdisziplin  (Freiburg,  1940).  But  see  also  n.  3,  p.  250,  above. 
52  B.C.P.,  1559,  p.  259. 


Book  VI 

eval  scholastics  always  dealt  with  the  subject  of  priestly  absolution  in 
their  discussion  of  the  sacrament  of  penance,  and  (2)  the  disciplinarians 
assigned  to  lay  elders,  along  with  ordained  ministers  and  doctors,  the 
responsibility  not  only  of  disciplining  by  private  admonition  or  ex- 
communication but  also  of  "loosing"  that  spiritual  punishment  by 
declaring  absolution  as  well. 

In  approaching  the  subject  of  contrition,  Hooker  follows  the  central 
Reformation  doctrine  that  all  good  works  derive  from  God  and  not 
from  human  effort,  teaching  that  the  virtue  of  repentance  in  the 
human  heart  is  the  effect  of  divine  grace.  He  also  utilizes  the  termi- 
nology of  Aristotle  and  the  schoolmen  (especially  that  of  Aquinas)  in 
speaking  about  the  virtue  of  repentance  as  a  "habit,"  that  is,  as  a 
mental  state  acquired  through  constant  repetition  that  eventually 
makes  certain  actions  "natural."  According  to  this  viewpoint,  divine 
grace  implants  in  the  soul  that  love  of  virtue  which  is  otherwise 
acquired  only  by  a  repetition  of  virtuous  actions.  What  Aristotle  had 
spoken  of  as  "acquired,"  Aquinas  and  the  schoolmen  taught  could  be 
"infused."  Thus  regarded,  the  theological  virtues  of  faith,  hope,  and 
love,  along  with  such  other  virtues  as  repentance  and  righteousness, 
are  all  regarded  as  "divinely  infused  habits."  Again  utilizing  a  distinc- 
tion found  in  Aquinas  concerning  "order"  and  "dignity,"  Hooker 
states  that  "the  whole  traine  of  vertues,  which  are  implied  in  the 
name  of  Grace,  bee  infused  att  one  instant"  (3.2;  3:7.29-31).  Yet  in 
the  logic  of  order  deriving  from  the  distinct  operations  of  the  virtues, 
one  seems  to  arise  from  another.  In  tracing  this  sequence,  Hooker 
argues  that  faith  in  God,  along  with  belief  in  the  resurrection  and 
judgment  of  the  dead,  leads  to  what  the  medieval  scholastics  describe 
as  "servile  fear"  (attritio).  But  for  Hooker  such  fear  cannot  of  itself 
move  sinners  to  repentance,  and  overemphasis  upon  it  may  in  fact 
cause  the  overscrupulous  to  despair  of  salvation  and  therefore  to 

S.T.,  la2ae. 113.8;  see  also  3a.85.6.  Compare  Hooker,  Justification,  §  21  (5:129. 
2-130.12).  For  an  account  of  how  Hooker's  intimately  related  doctrine  of  justification 
synthesizes  Reformation  and  Roman  Catholic  teaching  by  means  of  this  same 
Thomistic  distinction  between  "order"  and  "dignity,"  see  Lee  W.  Gibbs,  "Richard 
Hooker's  Via  Media  Doctrine  of  Justification,"  Harvard  Theological  Review,  74  (1981): 



become  immobile.  Hence,  Hooker  teaches  that  attrition  itself  presup- 
poses some  perception  of  God's  mercy  and  forgiving  love,  and  that 
the  divinely  infused  virtue  of  love  as  a  desire  of  union  with  the 
merciful  and  forgiving  God  transforms  it  into  "contrition" 
(contritio).54  Along  with  the  schoolmen,  he  conceives  of  contrition 
primarily  as  "that  alteration,  whereby  the  will  which  was  before 
delighted  with  sinne,  doth  now  abhorre  and  shunne  nothing  more" 
(3.5;  3:12.25-27),  and  secondarily  as  the  accompanying  filial  sorrow 
for  having  offended  the  heavenly  Father. 

Contrition  is  therefore  for  Hooker  the  beginning  of  repentance, 
and  there  is  neither  contrition  nor  repentance  without  divine  forgive- 
ness. It  is  God's  grace  transforming  servile  fear  into  filial  sorrow  by 
means  of  a  divinely  infused  desire  for  union  with  a  merciful  and 
forgiving  God  that  effectively  works  contrition  in  the  human  heart. 
The  discussion  of  contrition  in  chapter  3  leads  him  naturally  into  his 
consideration  of  confession  in  chapter  4  and  satisfaction  in  chapter  5. 
These  chapters  deal  with  "discipline,"  that  is,  the  external,  ritualized  side 
of  repentance  that  was  "instituted  by  Christ;  practised  by  the  Fathers:  converted 
by  the  Schoolemen  into  a  Sacrament"  (chap.  4,  heading;  3:14.1-3). 

Hooker's  introduction  to  chapter  4  (3:14.8-15.6)  is  of  immense 
importance  not  only  for  its  refutation  of  the  Roman  teaching  that 
penance  is  a  sacrament  but  also  for  his  anti-Genevan  polemic  against 
the  office  of  lay  elders.  The  penitential  tasks  of  pastoral  guidance  and 
correction  to  which  he  here  addresses  himself  are  the  same  as  those  for 

54  Hooker's  practical  pastoral  concern  for  the  care  of  potentially  overscrupulous 
souls  is  a  unifying  thread  throughout  his  work.  It  manifested  itself  in  his  analysis  of 
"assurance"  and  "certaintie"  in  Certaintie  and  Justification  and  in  his  recurrent  use  in 
Book  VI  of  medical  metaphors  of  curing  and  healing  when  dealing  with  contrition 
and  repentance  in  preference  to  those  juridical  ones  derived  from  the  law  courts;  see 
above,  Introduction  to  Book  V,  pp.  200-202;  see  also  John  E.  Booty,  "Contrition  in 
Anglican  Spirituality:  Hooker,  Donne,  and  Herbert,"  Anglican  Spirituality,  ed.  William 
J.  Wolf  (Wilton,  Conn.:  Morehouse-Barlow,  1982),  pp.  25-48,  and  McGrade, 
"Repentance  and  Spiritual  Power,"  pp.  170-171. 

55  In  the  context  of  his  discussion  of  absolution,  Hooker  takes  the  schoolmen  to 
task  for  their  distinction  between  attrition  or  servile  fear  as  a  partly  meritorious  work 
that  is  transformed  by  means  of  the  sacrament  of  penance  into  fully  meritorious 
contrition;  see  chap.  6.13  (3:93.18-95.4). 


Book  VI 

which  his  disciplinarian  opponents  proposed  the  participation  of  lay 
elders.  Hooker  opens  this  section  with  the  citation  of  the  key  proof- 
texts  from  Matthew  16:19  concerning  the  keys  of  the  kingdom,  from 
Matthew  18:17  concerning  the  saying  of  Jesus,  "Tel  it  unto  the 
Church,"  and  from  John  20:23,  "Whosoevers  sinnes  ye  remit,  they  are 
remitted  unto  them:  and  whosoevers  sinnes  ye  reteine,  they  are 
reteined."  These  texts  have  a  long  history  of  interpretation  and  were 
among  those  most  often  cited  by  the  disciplinarians  in  support  of  lay 
elders  (see  above,  p.  263  and  n.  25).  Hooker  preempts  them  as  war- 
rants for  ecclesiastical  courts  and  consistories  (3:14.18—23),  clearly 
restricting  their  meaning  to  the  ordinary  power  of  spiritual  jurisdiction, 
that  is,  to  "the  guides  and  Prelates  in  Gods  Church,  first  his  Apostles, 
and  afterwards  others  following  them  successively,"  who  "did  both  use 
and  uphold  that  discipline,  the  end  whereof  is  to  heale  mens  con- 
sciences, to  cure  theyr  sinnes,  to  reclayme  offendors  from  iniquitie, 
and  to  make  them  by  repentance  just"  (3:15.7—11).  He  specifies  even 
further  how  the  exercise  of  this  power  is  ruled  by  its  chief  end  of 

Neyther  hath  it  of  ancient  tyme  for  any  other  respect  beene 
accustomed,  to  bind  by  Ecclesiasticall  censures,  to  retayne  soe 
bound,  till  tokens  of  manifest  repentance  appeared,  and  upon 
apparent  repentance  to  release,  saving  only  because  this  was 
received,  as  a  most  expedient  method,  for  the  cure  of  sinne. 

Hooker  also  mentions  in  this  context  both  of  the  major  sanctions  or 
punishments  associated  with  the  exercise  of  ecclesiastical  discipline, 
namely,  the  exclusion  from  participation  in  the  "holy  mysteries  of 
Christ"  (3:15.20—22),  traditionally  known  as  minor  excommunication, 
and  full  ejection  out  of  the  church  with  the  deprivation  of  all  rights 

For  the  importance  of  penitential  preparation  and  discipline  with  regard  to  the 
administration  of  the  Eucharist,  see  John  E.  Booty,  "Preparation  for  the  Lord's  Supper 
in  Elizabethan  England,"  Anglican  Theological  Review,  49  (1967):  131-148;  Booty 
observes  that  Elizabethan  ecclesiastics  "aroused  the  ire  of  the  Puritans  by  relying  for 
discipline  upon  exhortation,  visitations,  and  ecclesiastical  courts,  rather  than  providing 
for  the  discipline  of  communicants  from  within  the  local  congregation"  (p.  148). 



and  privileges  of  Christians  (3:14.23—27),  traditionally  known  as  major 
excommunication.  His  citation  of  the  case  where  the  incestuous  Corin- 
thian was  excommunicated  and  then  absolved  (1  Cor.  5:3  and  2  Cor. 
2:6)  touched  upon  another  hotly  disputed  subject.  Cartwright  and  his 
supporters  contended  on  behalf  of  lay  elders  that  the  Corinthian 
church  both  excommunicated  and  absolved  the  offender,  while  Whit- 
gift  just  as  strenuously  argued  that  the  Apostle  Paul  alone  exercised  this 
authority  with  the  approval  of  the  church  in  Corinth. 

Confession:  At  the  beginning  of  section  2,  Hooker  introduces  for  the 
first  time  "confession"  as  the  general  subject  of  chapter  4.  He  states 
that  the  discipline  for  reforming  "open  transgressors"  in  the  early 
church  included  "offices  of  open  penitence  especially  confession, 
whereby  they  declared  their  owne  crimes  in  the  hearing  of  the  whole 
Church"  (3:15.17—20).  He  gives  a  historical  explanation  for  the 
increasing  disfavor  into  which  this  ancient  custom  of  public  discipline 
fell:  when  the  persecutions  of  the  early  church  ceased,  the  numbers  of 
church  members  rapidly  increased,  princes  became  Christian,  evils 
encouraged  by  the  new  peace  and  security  broke  forth,  and  "publique 
confessions  became  dangerous  and  prejudiciall  to  the  safety  of  well 
minded  men,  and  in  divers  respects  advantagibus  to  the  ennemies  of 
Gods  Church"  (3:16.23—25).  Hooker  then  introduces  the  long  anti- 
Roman  section  that  disputes  the  elevation  of  private  auricular  confes- 
sion to  the  status  of  a  sacrament  (§§  3-13;  3:16.28-45.16).  He  begins  by 
pointing  out  several  contradictions  implicit  in  the  teachings  of  the 
various  schoolmen,  including  the  classification  of  the  inward  virtue  of 
contrition  as  one  of  the  three  parts  of  the  external  discipline  of  penance. 
He  also  objects  to  the  omission  of  absolution,  which  some  medieval 
scholastics  (such  as  Aquinas  and  the  majority  at  the  Council  of  Trent) 
make  an  essential  part  of  the  sacrament.      But  his  major  argument 

For  surveys  of  the  historical  use  of  confession  and  penance  in  the  history  of  the 
church,  see  Frank  E.  Biggart,  "The  Presentation  of  the  Sacrament  of  Penance,"  in  The 
Theory  and  Practice  of  Penance  by  Priests  of  the  Anglican  Communion,  ed.  Hubert  S.  Box 
and  Kenneth  E.  Kirk  (London,  1935),  pp.  15-^6.  See  also  Thomas  N.  Tender,  Sin 
and  Confession  on  the  Eve  of  the  Reformation  (Princeton:  The  University  Press,  1977), 
and  Oscar  D.  Watkins,  A  History  of  Penance,  2  vols.  (London,  1920). 

58  The  Council  of  Trent  endorsed  both  the  Thomist  doctrine  that  the  imperfect 


Book  VI 

throughout  this  section  is  that  antiquity  is  on  the  side  of  those  who 
maintain  that  confession  is  public  as  well  as  private,  and  that  it  is  not 
a  sacrament.  As  in  the  disputations  with  the  disciplinarians,  the  argu- 
ment focuses  upon  the  testimony  of  Scripture  (both  Old  and  New 
Testaments)  and  the  church  Fathers. 

Hooker's  treatment  of  the  crucial  Old  Testament  texts  dealing  with 
confession  (§  4;  3:20.5—22.9)  is  derivative.  He  bases  his  discussion  of 
"Jewish  confession,"  which  entails  exegesis  of  passages  from  Numbers, 
Leviticus,  and  Joshua,  upon  commentary  written  on  the  Mishnah  and 
Talmud  by  Moses  Maimonides,  concluding  that  the  Jews  practiced 
"special  confession"  to  God  and  public  confession  before  many  but 
denying  that  they  knew  anything  of  private  auricular  confession. 

The  New  Testament  texts  Hooker  discusses  are  also  derivative.  He 
cites  passages  from  Matthew,  Mark,  Acts,  James,  and  1  John  that  had 
been  quoted  by  various  schoolmen  to  substantiate  their  claim  that  the 
custom  of  private  auricular  confession  had  New  Testament  precedent 
(§  5;  3:22.10-24.20).  The  bulk  of  the  argument  with  the  schoolmen 
over  confession,  however,  has  to  do  with  the  witness  of  the  church 
Fathers.  Considering  as  moot  passages  from  Tertullian,  Cyprian,  Am- 
brose, Augustine,  Origen,  Gregory  of  Nyssa,  Pseudo-Eusebius  Emise- 
nus,  and  numerous  others,  along  with  canons  from  the  Council  of 
Nicaea,  he  concludes: 

I  dare  boldly  affirme,  that  for  many  hundred  yeares  after  Christ, 
the  Fathers  held  noe  such  opinion,  they  did  not  gather  by  our 
Saviours  words  any  such  necessitie  of  seeking  the  Priests  absolu- 
tion from  sinne,  by  secret,  and  (as  they  now  terme  it:)  sacramen- 

fear  of  punishment  (attritio)  is  transformed  through  the  sacrament  of  penance  into 
perfect  contrition,  and  also  that  the  confession  of  sins  to  a  priest  is  the  "matter"  while 
the  words  of  the  priest,  "I  absolve  you,"  are  the  form  of  the  sacrament  of  penance. 
The  most  significant  contribution  of  Aquinas  to  the  medieval  discussion  of  penance 
was  his  insistence  that  contrition  does  not  produce  forgiveness  apart  from  the  sacra- 
mental absolution  of  the  priest;  see  the  further  discussion  of  Aquinas's  view  of  the 
necessary  role  of  the  priest's  absolution  below,  pp.  291-292.  In  a  way  very  similar  to 
Hooker,  Calvin  attacks  these  same  basic  "contradictions"  within  the  teachings  of  the 
medieval  schoolmen  concerning  the  sacrament  of  penance;  see  Institutes,  3.4.1-39  and 



tall  Confession.  Publique  Confession  they  thought  necessary  by 
way  of  discipline,  not  private  Confession  as  in  the  Nature  of  a 
Sacrament  necessary.  (§  6;  3:24.22—28;  compare  §  13;  3:45.14—16) 

The  brief  but  concentrated  passage  (§§  8-12;  3:33.18—42.9)  where 
Hooker  deals  with  the  early  church  historians  is  also  a  part  of  his  anti- 
Roman  polemic.  Hooker's  argument  with  his  scholastic  opponents 
(especially  Baronius  and  Bellarmine)  focuses  upon  the  practice  of 
penance  in  the  Greek  church  and,  more  specifically,  with  a  decision  of 
Nectarius,  bishop  of  Constantinople,  concerning  the  abolition  of  the 
office  of  a  penitentiary  "presbyter."  Against  the  interpretation  of 
Baronius,  Hooker  concludes  that  "Nectarius  did  truely  abrogate  Con- 
fession in  such  sort  as  the  Ecclesiasticall  historie  hath  reported,"  argu- 
ing against  both  Baronius  and  Bellarmine  that  "it  was  not  publick 
Confession  only  [but  also  private]  which  Nectarius  did  abolish"  (§11; 

Hooker  sets  forth  his  own  position  with  regard  to  confession  in  the 
concluding  sections  of  chapter  4  (§§  14-16;  3:45.17-52.18).  He  ac- 
knowledges that  confession,  sometimes  to  God  alone,  at  other  times  to 
man  as  well,  is  a  principal  duty  for  penitents.  Moreover,  confession  to 
man  can  be  both  public  or  private,  and  Hooker  points  out  that  Calvin 
himself,  along  with  other  "learneder  sorte  of  Divines"  from  the 
Reformed  traditions,  permits  private  confession  but  only  after  it  has 
been  "cleered  from  all  errours." 

Characteristically,  Hooker  emphasizes  that  common  public  acknowl- 
edgment of  sins  is  an  essential  part  of  the  corporate  worship  of  the 
church,  along  with  the  public  declaration  of  absolution  by  the  officiating 
minister.  With  regard  to  private  confession,  he  cites  with  approval  the 
comment  of  his  former  patron,  John  Jewel:  "As  for  private  Confession, 
abuses  and  errors  sett  apart,  wee  condemne  it  not,  but  leave  it  att  libertie"  (3: 
4S.h).  He  closes  with  a  declaration  of  practice  of  the  church  as  estab- 
lished in  England: 

And  for  private  Confession,  and  absolution,  it  standeth  thus  with 
us.  The  Ministers  power  to  absolve  is  publickly  taught  and 
professed,  the  Church  not  denyed  to  have  authoritie  eyther  of 
abridging,  or  enlarging  the  use  and  exercise  of  that  power;  upon 
the  people  noe  such  necessity  imposed  of  opening  their  trans- 


Book  VI 

gressions  unto  men,  as  if  remission  of  sinnes  otherwyse  were 
impossible,  neyther  any  such  opinion  had  of  the  thing  itselfe,  as 
though  it  were  eyther  unlawfull,  or  unprofitable,  saving  only  for 
these  inconveniences,  which  the  world  hath  by  experience  ob- 
served in  it  heretofore:  and  in  regard  thereof  the  Church  of 
England  hitherto  hath  thought  it  the  safer  way,  to  referre  mens 
hidden  crimes  unto  God  and  themselves  only,  howbeit  not 
without  speciall  caution,  for  the  admonition  of  such  as  come  to 
the  holy  Sacrament,  and  for  the  comfort  of  such  as  are  readie  to 
depart  the  World.  (§  15;  3:47.27-48.8) 

Satisfaction:  Chapter  5  deals  with  satisfaction  as  the  third  part  of 
penance.  In  a  brief  introduction  (§  1;  3:52.20—53.23),  Hooker  refers  to 
"such  mysteries  as  the  Papacie  hath  found"  concerning  this  doctrine 
and  claims  the  authority  of  the  church  Fathers  as  support  for  his 
position  rather  than  that  of  his  Roman  opponents.  He  then  advances 
the  basic  idea  around  which  he  organizes  the  following  argument: 
"Satisfaction  is  a  worcke  which  Justice  requireth  to  be  done  for  con- 
tentment of  persons  injuried"  (§  2;  3:53.24—25).  According  to  Hook- 
er, satisfaction  has  a  double  aspect,  for  sin  is  not  simply  an  offence 
against  God  or  against  man;  it  is  both.  Every  sin  demands  that  satisfac- 
tion be  made  to  God;  but  every  sin  also  requires  that  satisfaction  be 
made  either  to  the  injured  party  or  to  the  church  whose  spiritual  life 
suffers  through  the  sins  of  her  members.  Sections  2-6,  therefore,  take 
up  satisfaction  in  relation  to  the  offended  God.  There  Hooker  sets 
forth  an  Anselmian  doctrine  of  the  atonement  as  the  divine  basis  for 


the  human  satisfaction  of  God.  Sin  against  the  infinite  God  is  an 
infinite  wrong.  Human  beings  can  offer  no  satisfaction  for  sin,  yet 
justice  demands  that  God  be  satisfied.  God,  therefore,  out  of  his  un- 
speakable love,  ordained  on  human  behalf  a  Mediator  whose  sacrificial 
death  accomplished  what  for  any  other  would  have  been  impossible. 
The  Incarnation,  culminating  in  the  death  of  the  God-man,  has  made 

For  a  summary  of  the  objective  Latin  or  satisfaction  theory  of  the  atonement  as 
set  forth  by  Anselm  of  Canterbury  in  Cur  Deus  Homo?,  see  Gustav  Aulen,  Christus 
Victor;  A  Historical  Study  of  the  Three  Main  Types  of  the  Atonement,  trans.  A.  G.  Herbert 
(London:  S.P.C.K.,  1961),  pp.  100-109. 



forgiveness  not  only  possible  but  just.  The  satisfaction  which  Christ 
has  accomplished  is  appropriated  through  the  divinely  infused  virtue  of 
faith  (which  is  simultaneously  infused  with  the  other  virtues  of  love, 
hope,  repentance,  and  righteousness),  thereby  making  imperfect 
human  works  of  repentance  satisfactory  to  God. 

Under  the  rubric  of  satisfaction  to  God,  Hooker  also  deals  with  the 
temporal  punishments  which  follow  sin  even  after  divine  pardon.  He 
argues  that  divine  forgiveness  remits  all  punishments  for  sin,  whether 
eternal  or  temporal.  But  this  truth  does  not  prohibit  God  from  inflict- 
ing additional  chastisement,  and  he  refers  to  the  people  of  Israel  and  to 
Moses,  Miriam,  and  David  as  illustrations  of  those  who  were  further 
punished  temporally,  "eyther  for  their  owne  more  sound  amendment, 
or  for  example  unto  others  in  this  present  world"  (§  5;  3:56.24-57.2). 
Thus,  Hooker's  position  is  that  the  virtue  of  repentance,  quite  apart 
from  any  desire  for  absolution  from  a  priest,  is  sufficient  to  procure 
divine  forgiveness;  nevertheless,  works  of  satisfaction  as  part  of  the 
discipline  of  repentance  are  not  to  be  despised,  for  they  strike  at  sin's 
future  growth  by  attacking  its  roots. 

Hooker  turns  to  the  satisfaction  of  human  beings  in  sections  7  and 
8:  the  first  deals  with  the  satisfaction  of  particular  men,  the  second 
with  satisfaction  of  the  church.  He  observes  first  that  experience 
demonstrates  repentance  to  be  of  no  effect  in  a  person's  life  unless 
particular  men  be  satisfied.  Therefore,  restitution  to  other  men  must 
accompany  the  penitent's  confession  that  has  been  made  to  God. 
Hooker  cites  as  guidelines  for  Christians  the  strict  laws  of  the  Jews 
both  in  Leviticus  and  Numbers,  as  well  as  the  minute  directions  of  the 
rabbinical  schools.  With  regard  to  satisfaction  of  the  church,  Hooker 
notes  that  ancient  discipline  required  lengthened  periods  of  penitence 
and  also  ordered  all  the  various  classes  of  penitents  to  secure  full  proof 
of  amendment  and  satisfaction.  Condemnation  of  the  false  practice  of 
Rome  in  granting  absolution  before  sufficient  repentance  has  been 
demonstrated  closes  chapter  5. 

Absolution:  Hooker  thus  returns  at  the  end  of  chapter  5  to  the  topic 
announced  at  its  beginning  by  considering  "the  strange  preposterous 
course"  taken  by  "the  inventors  of  Sacramentall  satisfaction"  (§  9; 
3:67.12-14).  Along  with  the  mainstream  of  the  Protestant  Reforma- 
tion,  Hooker  attacks  the  Roman  doctrine  of  purgatory  as  a  place 


Book  VI 

where,  after  death,  divinely  pardoned  sinners  still  suffer  temporal 
punishment  equal  to  the  nature  of  their  crimes.  He  also  attacks  the 
related  doctrine  concerning  the  treasury  of  meritorious  works  built  up 
by  the  supererogatory  works  of  saintly  Christians  and  dispensed  by  the 
church.  He  anticipates  his  discussion  of  absolution  in  chapter  6  by 
declaring  that  there  is  an  analogy  between  the  Roman  doctrines 
concerning  the  papal  power  to  pardon  temporal  pains  of  souls  in 
purgatory  and  the  priestly  power  that  is  necessary  for  the  remission  of 
eternal  death,  concluding  that  "by  this  posterne  gate,  commeth  in  the 
whole  Mart  of  Papall  indulgences." 

The  introduction  of  the  long  discussion  of  absolution  at  the  begin- 
ning of  chapter  6  appears  in  some  ways  to  be  a  break  in  the  logical 
progression  of  the  argument,  and  there  are  both  internal  and  external 
grounds  for  regarding  it  as  an  insertion  at  a  later  stage  of  composi- 
tion. Internally,  Hooker  has  not  stated  before  that  he  intends  to 
deal  extensively  with  the  topic  of  absolution.  On  the  contrary,  he 
omits  absolution  among  the  major  parts  of  the  so-called  "sacrament  of 
penance"  (3.5,  6;  3:12.8-17,  13.11-28),  even  stating  at  the  beginning 
of  chapter  5  that  "There  resteth  now  Satisfaction  only  to  be  consid- 
ered" (§  1;  3:52.20).  Externally,  there  is  a  sizable  blank  space  on  the 
page  before  the  unexpected  and  unannounced  topic  "  Of  Absolution  of 
pcenitents"  is  introduced,  and  there  are  several  incoherencies  in  this 
section,  the  most  obvious  of  them  being  the  repetition  of  the  passage 
(partially  rewritten)  concerning  "this  posterne  gate  . . .  of  Papall  indul- 

Nevertheless,  it  was  vital  that  Hooker  take  up  the  issue  of  absolu- 
tion to  resolve  issues  raised  by  both  wings  of  his  opposition.  On  the 
one  hand,  the  disciplinarians  ceded  the  power  of  absolution  (including 
minor  and  major  excommunication)  to  lay  elders  acting  in  concert 
with  ordained  ministers.  On  the  other,  although  most  medieval 
schoolmen  spoke  of  contrition,  confession,  and  satisfaction  as  the  three 
major  parts  of  the  sacrament  of  penance,  they  invariably  included  in 

60  Chap.  5.9;  3:68.28-69.4;  compare  chap.  6.7  (3:80.14-29)  and  Justification,  §  5 

For  internal  evidence,  see  McGrade,  "Repentance  and  Spiritual  Power,"  pp. 
172—174;  for  external  evidence,  see  3:xxxv,  xxxvii— xxxix. 



their  writings  long  discussions  concerning  the  nature  and  role  of 
absolution.  Some  of  them  made  absolution  by  the  priest  the  essence  of 
the  sacrament  itself. 

Hooker  begins  his  treatment  by  setting  forth  his  own  position  on 
the  role  of  ordained  ministers  with  regard  to  the  forgiveness  of  sins 
and  the  discipline  of  the  church.  He  locates  the  origin  of  the  jurisdic- 
tional authority  to  absolve  in  Christ's  giving  the  power  of  the  keys  to 
his  apostles  and  derivatively  to  the  ministers  of  his  Word.  In  light 
of  his  controversy  with  the  disciplinarians  over  lay  elders,  both  here 
and  in  the  missing  manuscript  of  Book  VI,  Hooker  uses  juridical 
language  to  describe  this  authority  entailed  in  the  power  of  order: 

It  is  true  that  our  Saviour  by  those  words:  whose  sinnes  yee  retnitt 
they  are  remitted,  did  ordaine  Judges  over  sinfull  soules,  give  them 
authoritie  to  absolve  from  sinne,  and  promisse  to  ratifye  in  heav- 
en whatsoever  they  should  doe  on  earth  in  execution  of  this  their 
office....  (6.3;  3:71.25-28) 

He  immediately  places  two  restrictions  upon  this  "pcenitentiall  juris- 
diction" of  priests:  first,  that  its  practice  proceed  in  due  order;  second, 
that  it  not  extend  itself  beyond  its  due  bounds  of  remitting  sin,  as  if 
"noe  sinne  should  be  pardonable  in  man  without  it"  (3:72.5—11). 

Further  important  juridical  distinctions  occur  in  section  5,  where 
Hooker  states  that  the  sincerity  of  repentance  is  to  be  judged  by  the 
consciences  of  individuals,  while  "judges"  have  been  appointed  by 
God  to  evaluate  the  "fitt  and  convenient  offices"  for  expressing  that 
repentance.  Ministerial  absolution  only  declares  that  the  person  is  free 
from  the  guilt  of  sin;  but  ministers  are  endowed  with  authority  to 

The  teaching  of  Lancelot  Andrewes  on  absolution  and  the  power  of  reconcili- 
ation given  to  priests  as  part  of  their  power  of  order  coincides  with  Hooker's  at  this 
point;  see  "A  Sermon  Preached  at  Whitehall,  upon  the  Sunday  after  Easter,  Being  the 
Thirtieth  of  March,  A.D.  MDC,"  The  Works  of  Lancelot  Andrewes,  ed.  J.  Bliss  (Oxford, 
1854),  5:94—95.  Andre wes's  main  point  in  this  sermon  is  that  God  has  instituted 
diverse  acts  for  the  remission  of  sins,  and  that  all  of  these  acts  require  the  person  of 
the  minister  and  cannot  be  performed  without  him.  Compare  Hooker's  interpretation 
of  the  clergy's  authority  in  declaring  absolution  in  terms  of  the  power  of  order  in 
V.77.1  and  5-7. 


Book  VI 

permit  or  refuse  access  to  "sacred  and  divine  mysteries"  until  those 
judged  unworthy  are  deemed  by  outward  signs  to  have  sincerely  repent- 
ed. Another  important  distinction  overlaps  with  this  discussion  of 
"minor  excommunication."  Hooker  distinguishes  between  the  way 
jurisdictional  authority  in  the  church  is  exercised  over  voluntary 
penitents  and  its  exercise  on  those  who  have  to  be  brought  to  amend- 
ment by  ecclesiastical  censure.  With  regard  to  the  first,  Hooker  reiter- 
ates that  the  minister's  power  to  bind  or  loose  is  based  upon  judgment 
of  external  signs  of  repentance  and  is  only  declaratory  of  what  God  has 
done.  But  with  regard  to  the  spiritual  jurisdiction  that  constrains 
individuals  to  amend  their  lives,  the  minister  has  a  genuine  power  of 
jurisdiction  that  the  church  has  invested  in  his  office. 

Having  outlined  his  own  reformed  position  on  the  nature  of  absolu- 
tion and  the  role  of  the  ordained  clergy  therein,  Hooker  launches  his 
attack  upon  the  two  major  errors  of  Rome.  The  first  concerns  the 
view  that  sacraments  in  general  (and  the  sacrament  of  penance  in 
particular)  contain  and  confer  grace  (§§  9—11);  the  second  concerns  the 
exaggeration  of  the  role  and  authority  of  the  priest  in  the  declaration 
of  absolution  (§§  12-14). 

Hooker  argues  that  some  of  the  schoolmen  and  the  mainstream  of 
the  Roman  tradition  departed  from  the  position  of  Peter  Lombard, 
who  held  that  absolution  by  the  priest  is  merely  declarative,  when  they 
made  the  private  discipline  of  "pcenitencie"  to  be  a  sacrament  and 
absolution  the  external  sign  of  this  sacrament.  To  the  Thomistic  doc- 
trine that  the  external  signs  of  a  sacrament  contain  and  convey  the 
grace  they  symbolize  (appropriated  by  the  Councils  of  Florence  and 
Trent  and  by  Cardinals  Bellarmine  and  Allen),  he  opposes  the  teaching 
of  Bonaventure  that  the  outward  signs  of  the  sacraments  do  not  have 
in  themselves  either  a  natural  efficacy  toward  grace  or  any  supernatu- 
rally  infused  virtue  in  them  (appropriated  by  Scotus,  Occam,  Alexan- 
der of  Hales,  and  Pierre  d'Ailly).  Hooker  identifies  himself  with 
Bonaventure's  position,  arguing  that  the  sacraments  are  efficacious 
because  God  himself,  faithful  to  his  divine  promise,  joins  his  Holy 
Spirit  to  the  external  signs  to  make  them  so. 

Obligatory  confession  to  a  priest  at  least  once  a  year,  as  required  by 
the  Fourth  Lateran  Council  (1215),  reinforced  by  the  teaching  of 
Aquinas  and  the  Councils  of  Florence  (1439)  and  Trent  (1545—1563) 



concerning  the  efficacy  of  the  external  signs  of  the  sacraments,  exalted 
the  role  of  the  priest  in  declaring  absolution.  Thomas  Tender  has 
summarized  the  major  theological  alternatives  that  emerged  in  the 
practical  literature  on  forgiveness  at  the  end  of  the  middle  ages: 

Theologians  developed  three  main  ways  to  explain  what  the 
priest  does,  and  they  represented  three  different  estimates  of  his 
power.  Those  who  continued  in  the  [contritionist]  tradition  of 
Peter  Lombard  gave  him  very  little  to  do.  Those  who  followed 
Aquinas  tried  to  combine  the  contrition  of  the  penitent  and  the 
action  of  the  priest  in  a  causal  unity  that  produced  grace,  and 
thus  made  the  priest  logically  indispensable.  Those  who  followed 
Duns  Scotus  gave  the  priest  the  greatest  importance,  and,  starting 
from  the  indispensability  established  by  Aquinas,  they  stressed  the 
priest's  role  to  such  an  extent  that  some  of  them  could  speak  of 
"the  Sacrament  of  Absolution." 

Thus,  in  his  view  of  auricular  confession,  as  he  had  in  his  view  of  the 
declaratory  nature  of  priestly  absolution,  Hooker  rejects  the  Thomist 
and  Scotist  alternatives,  identifying  with  the  contritionist  tradition  of 
Lombard  and  Bonaventure. 

Satisfaction  (continued):  The  Inward  Dimension:  Having  dealt  with 
what  he  considers  the  major  errors  of  the  Roman  teaching  about 
absolution,  Hooker  resumes  in  the  final  sections  of  chapter  6  (§§  15— 
17)  what  could  be  considered  a  continuation  of  his  interrupted  treat- 
ment of  satisfaction  at  the  end  of  chapter  5,  namely,  the  human  prob- 
lem of  satisfying  one's  own  individual  conscience.  But  the  argument 
in  these  concluding  paragraphs  is  probably  better  understood  as  a 
continuation  of  the  part  that  the  church  plays  through  the  declaration 
of  pardon  by  its  ministers  and  the  resulting  reassurance  of  the  con- 
sciences of  those  individuals  who  have  truly  repented.  (The  whole  of 
Certaintie  addresses  the  issue  of  reassuring  the  scrupulous  conscience; 
see  also  Justification,  5:125.12—126.6.)  The  juridical  language  and  the 
general  importance  of  the  following  passage,  not  only  for  the  anti- 

Sin  and  Confession  on  the  Eve  of  the  Reformation,  pp.  22-23. 


Book  VI 

Roman  but  also  for  the  anti-Genevan  thrust  of  all  of  Book  VI,  war- 
rant its  full  quotation  here: 

To  remission  of  sinnes,  there  are  twoe  things  necessarie,  Grace 
as  the  only  cause  which  taketh  away  iniquitie,  and  Repentance  as 
a  dutie  or  condition  required  in  us.  To  make  repentance  such  as 
it  should  be,  what  doth  God  demand  butt  inward  synceritie, 
joyned  with  fitt  and  convenient  offices  for  that  purpos:  the  one 
referred  wholy  to  our  owne  consciences,  the  other  best  discernd 
by  them  whome  God  hath  appointed  Judges  in  this  Court.  Soe 
that  having  first  the  promisses  of  God  for  pardon  generally  unto 
all  offendors  pcenitent,  and  particularly  for  our  owne  unfayned 
meaning,  the  unfallible  testimonie  of  a  good  conscience;  the 
sentence  of  Gods  appointed  officer  and  Vicegerent,  to  approove 
with  unpartiall  judgement,  the  qualitie  of  that  wee  have  done; 
and  as  from  his  Tribunall  in  that  respect,  to  assoyle  us  of  any 
crime,  I  see  noe  cause,  butt  that  by  the  rules  of  our  faith  and 
religion,  wee  may  rest  ourselves  very  well  assured  touching  Gods 
most  mercifull  pardon  and  grace,  whoe  especially  for  the  strength- 
ning  of  weake,  timerous  and  fearefull  mindes,  hath  soe  farre  in- 
dued his  Church  with  power  to  absolve  sinners.  (6.5;  3:74.10—27) 

In  section  15,  Hooker  resumes  this  discussion  of  the  comforting  role 
of  the  priest  in  his  role  of  declaring  the  assurance  of  divine  forgiveness 
to  those  disturbed  by  an  overscrupulous  conscience.  In  section  16,  he 
deals  with  those  who  are  excessively  fearful  that  the  enormity  of  their 
crimes  are  so  unforgivable  that  their  repentance  will  do  them  no  good; 
and  in  section  17  he  considers  those  who  continually  fear  that  defects 
in  their  own  repentance  will  make  them  undeserving  of  the  divine 
mercy.  Hooker  then  concludes  his  argument  on  spiritual  jurisdiction 
in  the  inner  penitential  forum: 

it  hath  therefore  pleased  Almightie  God  in  tender  commiseration 
over  these  imbecillities  of  men,  to  ordeine  for  their  spirituall  and 
ghostly  comfort,  consecrated  persons,  which  by  sentence  of 
power  and  authoritie  given  from  above,  may  as  it  were  out  of  his 
verie  mouth  ascertaine  timorous  and  doubtfull  minds  in  their 
owne  particular,  ease  them  of  all  their  scrupulosities,  leave  them 
settled  in  peace  and  satisfyed  touching  the  mercie  of  God  towards 



them.  To  use  the  benefitt  of  his  helpe  for  our  better  satisfaction 
in  such  cases,  is  soe  naturall,  that  it  can  bee  forbidden  noe  man: 
butt  yet  not  soe  necessarie,  that  all  men  should  bee  in  case  to 
neede  it.  (6.17;  3:102.3-13) 

3.  Spiritual  Jurisdiction:  Hie  External  Canonical  Forum 

Hooker  seems  to  have  decided  to  expand  the  original  and  now  lost 
version  of  Book  VI  by  adding  the  long  essay  on  spiritual  jurisdiction 
as  penitential  discipline,  which,  although  not  a  sacrament,  is  still 
properly  a  sacerdotal  function  from  which  therefore  lay  elders  are 
excluded.  He  would  have  retained  the  original  version  of  Book  VI  as 
the  second  major  part  of  his  refutation  of  the  disciplinarian  office  of 
lay  elders.  This  part  of  the  argument  would  have  been  developed  in 
terms  of  the  more  restrictive  sense  of  spiritual  jurisdiction  as  the 
administrative  and  juridical  organization  of  the  church  or,  more 
specifically,  as  the  organization  of  the  ecclesiastical  courts  and  the  law 
which  they  elaborated  and  applied.  The  evidence  from  the  Autograph 
Notes  makes  this  clear. 

Ecclesiastical  us.  Civil  Courts:  The  presbyterians  held  that  the  scriptur- 
al model  for  overseeing  spiritual  and  moral  discipline  in  the  church 
was  the  congregational  consistory,  that  is,  an  ecclesiastical  court  made 
up  of  the  pastor  and  representative  lay  elders.  Both  Travers  and  Cart- 
wright  speak  of  the  consistories  as  "courts,"  and  both  draw  secular 
analogies  from  the  ancient  Athenian  court  of  the  Areopagus  and  the 
Roman  Senate.  Following  Calvin  and  in  concert  with  other  discipli- 
narians, they  also  emphasize  the  Jewish  Court  of  Seventy,  the  Sanhe- 
drin,  claimed  as  the  origin  and  scriptural  warrant  for  their  office  of  lay 
elders.  They  rejected  the  ecclesiastical  rule  of  magistrates,  whether 
Christian  or  not,  on  the  basis  of  the  distinction  between  church  and 
commonwealth  as  two  separate,  if  interdependent,  spheres  of  authori- 
ty. The  rule  of  bishops  was  dismissed  by  claiming  on  biblical  authority 
that  pastors  and  congregations  are  equal.  The  rule  of  magistrates  and 
bishops  was  replaced  with  a  graduated  series  of  representative  bodies, 


Book  VI 

rising  from  local  consistories  to  presbyteries  to  synods  to  national  and 
even  international  assemblies. 

At  this  point,  Hooker's  argument  must  be  reconstructed  on  the  basis 
of  what  can  be  inferred  from  the  Cranmer-Sandys  Notes  on  the  lost 
original  draft  of  Book  VI  and  from  the  relevant  portions  of  the  Auto- 
graph Notes.  Hooker  apparently  began  the  draft  of  Book  VI,  as  he  did 
the  extant  1648  text,  by  distinguishing  between  the  power  of  order 
and  that  of  jurisdiction  (fol.  1;  3:4.8-24).  In  the  Autograph  Notes,  he 
defines  jurisdiction  as  "power  to  commaund  and  judg  according  to 
law"  and  spiritual  jurisdiction  as  "a  power  of  commaunding  and 
judging  in  spirituall  affaires  according  to  spirituall  lawes"  (3:466.17— 
19).  Another  passage  stresses  that  the  chief  end  of  spiritual  jurisdiction 
in  the  external  canonical  forum  is  the  same  as  its  exercise  in  the 
internal  penitential  forum,  namely,  to  work  repentance:  "The  end 
being  to  cure  the  faults  of  men,  and  the  waie  by  justice,  it  behoveth 
the  phisitian  which  is  the  judge  to  be  therein  as  expedite  as  may  stand 
with  justice  that  the  cure  of  every  mans  evell  may  be  with  speed 

The  means  of  that  jurisdiction  was  the  ecclesiastical  court  system, 
and  Hooker  specifies  the  kinds  of  cases  that  legitimately  fall  under  its 
jurisdiction,  citing  matrimonial  cases  as  an  example.     This  discussion, 

64  See  pp.  271-272,  above. 

Autograph  Notes,  3:478.27-30;  compare:  "But  ...  by  way  of  revenge  an 
ecclesiasticall  judg  imposeth  not  any  pecuniary  mulct,  for  that  his  end  is  to  cure  the 
soul  and  not  to  empty  the  purse  of  thoffendour"  (3:480.15—18). 

The  law  underwriting  that  jurisdiction,  assumed  and  interpreted  by  the  English 
ecclesiastical  courts,  was  the  Corpus  juris  canonici,  first  published  as  a  single  collection 
in  printed  editions  from  1499  onwards.  Although  there  was  never  an  official  or 
expurgated  edition  in  England,  this  was  the  body  of  ecclesiastical  law  that  obtained  in 
post-Reformation  England,  after  modifications  were  made  (such  as  deleting  passages 
having  to  do  with  such  issues  as  the  authority  of  the  papacy  and  the  organization  of 
religious  houses),  brought  about  by  English  statute  law  (such  as  the  Acts  of  Supremacy 
and  Uniformity),  subsequent  canonical  legislation,  and  other  orders  and  injunctions  of 
the  monarch,  convocations,  and  ecclesiastical  commissions,  as  well  as  local  custom;  see 
The  Canon  Law  of  the  Church  of  England:  Being  the  Report  of  the  Archbishops'  Commission 
on  Canon  Law,  together  with  Proposals  for  a  Revised  Body  of  Canons  (London,  1947),  pp. 
xi,  42;  see  also  The  Reformation  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Laws  as  Attempted  in  the  Reigns  of 
King  Henry   VIII,  King  Edward   VI,  and  Queen  Elizabeth  (1850;  rpr.  Farnborough, 



evidently  rudimentary  in  the  lost  draft,  would  have  emerged  as  a  major 
new  section  had  Hooker  followed  the  promptings  of  Cranmer  and 
Sandys,  who  asked  Hooker  to  clarify  and  justify  the  distinction 
between  cases  that  are  spiritual  and  judged  by  ecclesiastical  courts, 
those  which  are  temporal  and  judged  by  civil  courts,  and  those  which 
are  "mixi"  and  may  be  tried  in  either  tribunal.  Hooker's  response 
may  be  seen  in  the  legal  material  gathered  in  his  Autograph  Notes 
(3:471.31—477.18).  He  repeatedly  emphasized  against  his  disciplinarian 
opponents  that  within  their  polity  the  spiritual  sovereignty  of  every 
local  congregation  and  the  governing  role  of  lay  elders  in  those 
churches  would  undermine  not  only  the  spiritual  jurisdiction  of  the 
ecclesiastical  courts  but  ultimately  the  entire  English  court  system 
(compare  Pref.  8.2  and  2.4;  1:39.12-21  and  6.17-24).  But  he  defended 
the  traditional  jurisdiction  exercised  by  the  ecclesiastical  courts  in 
England,  especially  in  such  "mixt"  cases  as  marriage  and  divorce, 
legitimacy  and  bastardy,  and  particularly  wills  and  testaments,  over 
against  encroachments  by  the  civil  courts  and  the  common  lawyers,  of 
which  Sandys  was  one. 

Hants.:  Gregg,  1968);  this  work  was  initiated  by  a  commission  under  the  leadership 
of  Thomas  Cranmer,  but  was  not  published  until  1571,  and  then  in  Latin;  see  STC 
6006.  In  addition  to  canon  law,  there  were  also  canons  derived  from  various  provin- 
cial constitutions;  by  far  the  most  definitive  was  Lyndewode's  Provinciate  (1432),  a  gloss 
and  commentary  on  the  provincial  constitutions  of  the  province  of  Canterbury, 
quoted  seven  times  in  the  material  pertaining  to  Book  VI  in  the  Autograph  Notes. 

See  Cranmer,  3:111,  and  Sandys,  3:130-133;  also  pp.  238—242,  above,  and 
313-315,  below. 

The  separation  of  the  spiritual  from  the  civil  courts  was  one  of  the  major 
changes  introduced  in  England  by  the  Norman  Conquest.  For  the  Ordinance  of 
William  I  (c.  1070)  that  laid  the  basis  for  further  development  of  independent 
ecclesiastical  jurisdiction,  see  App.  I  of  Felix  Makower,  The  Constitutional  History  and 
Constitution  of  the  Church  of  England  (1895;  rpr.  New  York:  Burt  Franklin,  1960),  pp. 
465—466.  For  a  full  discussion  of  the  kinds  of  cases  that  properly  fall  under  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  ecclesiastical  courts  by  one  of  Hooker's  contemporaries,  see  the 
General  Preface  and  Part  1  of  Richard  Cosin's  An  Apologie:  of  and  for  Sundrie  Proceed- 
ings by  Jurisdiction  Ecclesiastical  (1591;  1593);  see  also  the  list  of  "Causae  ecclesiasticae" 
in  The  Reformation  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Laws,  pp.  206-207. 

For  an  account  of  these  encroachments  upon  areas  previously  ceded  to  the 
ecclesiastical  courts,  and  of  the  common  lawyers'  making  common  cause  with  the 


Book  VI 

In  justifying  the  separation  between  spiritual,  temporal,  and  mixed 
cases,  Hooker  considers  the  qualifications  of  those  who  give  judgment 
in  the  ecclesiastical  courts,  culminating  in  the  subsection  of  the 
Autograph  Notes  entitled  "Exceptions  against  layelders"  (3:471.12— 
30).  But  there  are  other  arguments  to  exclude  lay  ecclesiastical  judges 
liberally  scattered  throughout  the  material  before  and  after  this  section. 
He  has  already  stated  in  his  earlier  section  "  Of  jurisdiction,"  for  exam- 
ple, that  "They  which  have  power  to  commaund  and  judg  must  have 
also  authoritie  to  punish,"  and  he  quotes  a  statement  from  Justinian's 
Digest  that  avers  that  "There  is  no  jurisdiction  without  a  proportionate 
power  of  coercion"  (3:466.20-21,  467.31-32  and  n). 

Some  of  the  arguments  for  the  exclusion  of  lay  elders  presuppose 
the  discussion  presented  in  the  1648  text  concerning  spiritual  jurisdic- 
tion in  the  internal  penitential  forum  associated  with  the  power  of 
order.  Examples  include  the  statement  that  "none  having  ordinarie 
power  in  such  sort  to  chastise  soules  but  they  unto  whome  the  charge 
and  care  of  soules  is  committed"  (3:469.5—7),  and  that  laymen  are 
incompetent  to  "injoign  penances,  degrade  ecclesiasticall  persons  and 
to  putt  them  from  theire  order,  suspend  from  communion  which  they 
cannot  minister,  and  to  excommunicate  which  cannot  admitt"  (3:471. 
19—24).  But  such  laypersons,  who  were  usually  not  common  but  civil 
lawyers  with  a  degree  from  one  of  the  universities  in  Roman  civil  law 
and  who  may  have  been  but  were  not  always  skilled  in  the  intricacies 
of  canon  law,  were  delegated  authority  by  the  bishops  to  serve  as 
judges  in  the  spiritual  courts.      Therefore,  Hooker's  ground  for  re- 

disciplinarians,  esp.  in  attacking  the  practices  of  the  High  Commission  and  the  use  of 
the  oath  ex  officio,  see  Ralph  Houlbrooke,  Church  Courts  and  the  People  during  the 
English  Reformation,  1520-1570  (Oxford:  Oxford  University  Press,  1979),  pp.  116, 
266-268;  Roland  G.  Usher,  The  Rise  and  Fall  of  the  High  Commission  (1913;  rpr. 
Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1968),  pp.  121-201;  and  R.  H.  Helmholz,  Roman  Canon 
Law  in  Reformation  England  (Cambridge:  The  University  Press,  1990),  pp.  20-27. 

Compare  the  sections  on  judges,  their  office,  and  their  jurisdiction  in  The 
Reformation  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Laws,  pp.  188-211. 

Some  of  the  most  vituperative  attacks  of  the  disciplinarians  were  directed 
against  the  chancellors  and  commissaries,  usually  laymen.  Collinson  states  the  presbyte- 
rian  view  of  the  role  played  by  these  ecclesiastical  lay  officials: 

Without   congregational   participation,    spiritual   government   was    ordinarily 



jecting  the  disciplinarian  office  of  lay  elders  had  to  be  different  here. 
That  is  why  he  first  argues  throughout  the  section  of  the  Autograph 
Notes  ''Concerning  those  who  give  judgment"  that  lay  elders  have  not 
been  given  the  coercive  authority  by  the  prince  or  by  the  church  (that 
is,  by  the  bishops)  to  try  cases  or  impose  punishments,  and  secondly 
that  they  could  not  and  would  not  have  adequate  knowledge  or  skill 
to  apply  the  law  in  specific  cases  (3:469.15-470.7;  471.25-30).  Even 
in  the  exceptional  case  of  the  prince,  who  has  "a  competencie  of 
power  both  to  uphold  by  waie  of  dependencie  the  Ordinarie  jurisdic- 
tion wherewith  law  investeth  ecclesiastical  judges,"  the  exercise  of 
judgment  in  ecclesiastical  cases  and  the  imposition  of  the  censures  of 
the  church  are  so  difficult  and  inconvenient  that  he  traditionally 
delegates  this  authority  to  ecclesiastical  judges  who  have  the  requisite 
knowledge  of  the  intricacies  of  canon  law. 

Having  distinguished  spiritual  from  civil  cases  and  designated  the 
qualifications  for  ecclesiastical  judges,  Hooker  was  finally  prepared  to 
discuss  "The  forme  and  maner  of  proceding  in  ecclesiasticall  causes"  (3:477. 
20—481.23).  The  manner  of  proceeding  in  spiritual  cases  must  concur 
with  the  end  it  proposes,  and  that  end  is  to  cure  the  faults  of  men. 
Under  this  heading  Hooker  defends  the  much  criticized  practice  in  the 
ecclesiastical  courts  of  changing  corporal  penances  to  monetary  fines. 
Although  he  defends  the  established  system  against  his  opponents,  he 
acknowledges  blatant  abuses  and  calls  for  reform. 

In  this  same  context,  Hooker  seeks  to  explain  and  justify  the  de- 
spised oath   ex  officio,   a   traditional  procedure  in   courts   established 

conducted  at  the  diocesan  and  archdiaconal  levels.  .  . .  Pastoral  care  meant,  in 
effect,  the  impersonal  processes  of  the  church  courts,  where  the  bishop  was 
represented  by  officials  who  in  the  post-Reformation  period  were  more  often 
than  not  laymen,  civil  lawyers  whose  attitude  can  be  described  without  preju- 
dice as  professional  rather  than  evangelical  and  pastoral.  (E.P.M.,  pp.  37-38) 

On  the  break  of  canon-law  ties  with  Rome  in  1535  and  1536  and  the  consequent 
cessation  of  the  teaching  of  canon  law  in  English  universities  and  the  exercise  of  its 
functions  by  civil  rather  than  canon  lawyers,  see  R.  J.  Schoeck,  "Canon  Law  in 
England  on  the  Eve  of  the  Reformation,"  Medieval  Studies,  25  (1963):  125-147. 

3:468.21-469.2;  see  Lawes,  VIII. 8,  on  the  lack  of  personal  qualifications  in 


Book  VI 

according  to  civil  and  canon  law  but  not  in  courts  of  the  English 
common  law.  The  procedure  was  utilized  infrequently  in  the  ecclesias- 
tical courts  but  often  in  the  Court  of  the  High  Commission.  For 
promoting  religious  uniformity,  the  crown  preferred  the  appointment 
of  ordinaries  to  special  commissions  rather  than  working  direcdy 
through  the  church  courts.  This  exercise  of  the  prince's  spiritual 
prerogatives,  made  statutory  under  the  1559  Supremacy  Act,  reached 
its  apex  under  Elizabeth  I.  The  central  commission,  established  in 
London  on  a  statutory  as  well  as  prerogative  basis  from  1559  onwards, 
became  the  most  authoritative  throughout  the  kingdom  and  thus 
known  as  the  "High  Commission."  After  1581,  Whitgift  used  it  as 
one  of  his  main  weapons  in  the  struggle  to  secure  disciplinarian 
conformity,  while  diocesan  commissions  became  increasingly  con- 
cerned with  routine  ecclesiastical  court  business.  Whitgift's  immediate 
aims  were  largely  achieved — but  at  the  price  of  making  the  High 
Commission  a  hated  institution  among  the  disciplinarians. 

Excommunication:  Hooker  next  addressed  "The  punishments  necessary 
in  spirituall  processed  The  discussion  of  ecclesiastical  censures  quickly 
led  him  to  to  the  subject  of  "The  highest  of  them  excommunica- 
tion." He  intended  to  deal  in  different  sections  with  "the  causes 
degrees  force  and  relaxation  of  excommunication"  (3:482.10-13).  In 
keeping  with  repentance  as  the  chief  end  of  spiritual  jurisdiction,  the 
primary  end  of  excommunication  was  curative:  separation  from  the 
company  of  the  faithful  was  intended  to  induce  the  excommunicant  to 
seek  absolution,  reconciliation  to  the  church,  and  restoration  to  his  or 
her  place  in  society.  The  primary  cause  for  the  imposition  of  excom- 
munication was  contumacy  (excommunicatio  ab  homine),  although  there 

See  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  p.  19,  n.  30,  above;  see  also  E.P.M.,  pp.  266, 
270.  Cosin  defends  this  controversial  practice  within  the  larger  context  of  treating  the 
ways  of  proceeding  in  criminal  cases  in  Parts  2  and  3  of  his  Apologie:  of  and  for  Sundrie 
Proceedings,  which  also  contains  an  address  given  by  Lancelot  Andrewes  on  the  topic 
of  the  oath  at  the  University  of  Cambridge  in  July  1591.  See  also  Helmholz,  Roman 
Canon  Law  in  Reformation  England,  pp.  104—119. 

3:481.24—25,  30.  For  a  summary  of  the  church's  censures,  including  excommu- 
nication, contemporary  with  Hooker's,  see  The  Reformation  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Laws,  pp. 
156-188;  also,  Houlbrooke,  Church  Courts,  pp.  47-50. 



were  some  acts  (such  as  striking  a  clergyman)  that  automatically 
entailed  excommunication  (excommunicato  a  jure). 

Hooker's  discussion  of  the  "three  degrees  of  excommunication" 
evidently  caused  problems  for  both  Cranmer  and  Sandys  over  the  use 
of  "anathema"  in  both  a  general  and  a  specific  sense.  He  begins  by 
defining  it  generally  as  "separation"  or  anathema,  derived  from  Ro- 
mans 9:3,  where  Paul  says  that  he  "wolde  wish  my  self  to  be  separate 
from  Christ"  for  the  sake  of  his  people,  the  Jews.  Cranmer  and  Sandys 
both  point  out  that  this  is  not  customary  usage  and  that  Hooker 
himself  uses  the  word  in  its  more  traditional  sense  when  he  identifies 
it  as  the  third  of  the  three  kinds  or  degrees  of  excommunication, 
namely,  "separation"  (suspension  from  the  visible  community  of  the 
faithful),  "execration"  (excommunication  by  sentence  of  a  judge),  and 
"anathema"  (giving  the  condemned  party  up  to  Satan  amidst  the  ritual 
tolling  of  bells  and  the  dashing  of  candles).  Hooker  does  not  consider 
here  the  traditional  distinction  between  minor  and  major  excommunication 
(see  pp.  283—284,  above),  for  he  is  more  interested  in  this  part  of  his 
argument  with  the  external  juridical  aspects  of  excommunication  than 
with  its  inner  penitential  dimension. 

In  treating  excommunication,  Hooker  again  reminds  his  discipli- 
narian opponents  that  judgment  of  spiritual  causes  belongs  to  the 
monarch  and  to  the  bishops,  and  by  their  delegation  of  authority  to 
priests  and  other  commissaries.  He  is  therefore  in  agreement  with 
Whitgift  against  Cartwright  that  the  bishop  alone,  both  by  the  law  of 
God  and  of  the  Church  of  England  as  approved  by  consent  of  the 
prince  in  parliament,  may  exercise  the  discipline  of  excommunication, 
although  the  bishop  usually  delegates  this  spiritual  jurisdiction  to 
others,  both  ordained  and  lay. 

When  the  church  courts  had  imposed  their  highest  censure  of 
excommunication  upon  those  guilty  of  contumacy,  there  was  nothing 
further  that  they  could  do.  Hence,  Hooker  turns  in  his  discussion  of 
excommunication  to  "The  care  which  justice  hath  alwaies  had  to  uphold 
ecclesiasticall  jurisdictions  and  courts."  Under  this  rubric,  Hooker  is  con- 
cerned both  with  the  encroachment  of  civil  upon  ecclesiastical  juris- 
diction and  with  the  secular  enforcement  of  the  judgments  made  by 
the  ecclesiastical  courts.  He  again  states  that  there  has  rightly  been 
made  in  England  a  distinction  between  ecclesiastical  and  civil  courts, 


Book  VI 

that  both  are  ordained  for  the  common  good,  that  neither  should 
encroach  upon  the  rights  and  liberties  of  the  other,  and  that  the  prince 
is  the  patron  and  protector  of  both.  He  argues  that,  since  church 
courts  do  not  have  sufficient  coercive  power,  the  state  has  rightly 
upheld  their  jurisdiction  by  imposing  sanctions  on  those  who  hold 
their  judgments  (including  excommunication)  in  contempt,75  and 
cites  in  this  context  an  Elizabethan  statute:  "Upon  contempt  of  Ex- 
communication a  Significavit.  Upon  a  Significavit,  a  writ  de  excom- 
municato capiendo  to  be  awarded"  (3:484.11—13).  This  statute  legislat- 
ed that  if  any  individual  remained  excommunicated  for  more  than 
forty  days,  the  bishop  and  those  judges  to  whom  he  delegated  the 
requisite  authority  could  apply  by  means  of  a  letter  of  signification  for 
a  royal  writ  which  ordered  the  sheriff  to  imprison  him.  The  judge 
would  request  his  release  after  arrangements  had  been  made  for  the 
payment  of  fines  for  contumacy. 

The  section  on  excommunication  in  the  Autograph  Notes  con- 
cludes with  some  considerations  on  the  royal  sovereignty  directed 
against  Erastus  on  the  one  hand  and  Beza  and  the  disciplinarians  on 
the  other.  He  challenges  the  Erastian  thesis  that,  in  a  Christian 
realm,  the  distinction  between  civil  and  ecclesiastical  has  no  reason  to 
exist.  He  charges  Beza  and  other  presbyterians  with  the  error  of 
subjecting  the  monarch  to  the  discipline  of  their  church  courts,  there- 
by compromising  the  royal  sovereignty  by  submitting  it  not  only  to 
"ordinary"  parish  clergy  but  also  to  unqualified  lay  elders  who  would, 
combined  in  the  consistory,  have  the  power  of  excommunication  and 
absolution  in  spiritual  matters.  Against  both  he  argues  that  the  prince 
is  a  "mixf"  person,  that  is,  that  he  is  the  source  of  all  justice  in  the 
land,  both  ecclesiastical  and  civil.  The  two  bodies  of  law  are  joined  in 

See  Logan,  Excommunication  and  the  Secular  Arm,  pp.  17-19;  also,  George  W. 
Keaton,  The  Norman  Conquest  and  the  Common  Law  (London:  Ernest  Benn  Ltd.,  1966), 
p.  68,  and  F.  Douglas  Price,  "Abuses  of  Excommunication  and  the  Decline  of 
Ecclesiastical  Discipline  under  Queen  Elizabeth,"  English  Historical  Review,  57  (1942): 

76  3:481.24-484.13,  491.6-495.10.  Compare  Hooker's  analysis  of  the  debate 
between  Erastus  and  Beza  over  the  power  of  a  minister  with  his  eldership  to  excom- 
municate in  Pref.  2.9  (1:11.25-33). 



his  person.  This  discussion  of  the  dual  sovereignty  of  the  monarch 
looks  forward  not  only  to  arguments  developed  more  fully  in  Book 
VIII  but  also  to  the  final  section  of  the  argument  against  lay  elders.  In 
his  attempt  to  demonstrate  that  congregational  lay  elders  would  de- 
stroy both  the  spiritual  jurisdiction  of  the  monarch  and  the  delegated 
jurisdiction  of  the  bishops,  Hooker  surveys  Jewish  political  and  judi- 
ciary institutions  and  their  alleged  bearing  on  the  disciplinarian  argu- 
ments for  an  apostolic  congregational  eldership,  describing  the 
origin  of  the  Jewish  High  Court  in  the  Council  of  the  Seventy  found- 
ed by  Moses  (Exodus  18:25—26),  reinstituted  by  King  Tehosaphat  (2 
Chronicles  19:8—11),  and  continued  by  the  Sanhedrin. 

On  the  basis  of  2  Chronicles  19  Cartwright  had  argued  that  in 
ancient  Israel  the  magistrate's  power  was  restricted  to  seeing  that  the 
orders  of  the  church  were  observed  and  that  there  were  two  courts, 
one  for  civil  matters  and  the  other  for  eccelesiastical.  Since  ecclesias- 
tical courts  constituted  of  priests  and  governing  lay  elders  were  eventu- 
ally established  in  every  synagogue,   they  are  the  legitimate  divine 

77  See  Cranmer-Sandys  Notes,  on  fols.  23-60;  3:113.1-123.19,  134.6-137.17. 
Hooker's  procedure  in  this  part  of  his  treatise  coincides  with  that  of  Sutcliffe,  who  in 
his  A  Treatise  of  Ecclesiasticall  Discipline  concludes  that  the  whole  controversy  over  lay 
elders  can  be  resolved  if  the  following  three  points  can  be  demonstrated: 

First,  that  there  were  never  anie  Elders  onelie  censours  of  manners,  and  moder- 
ators of  discipline,  which  meddled  not  with  the  word  nor  sacraments.  Secondly, 
that  such  lay  elders  .  .  .  without  right,  or  institution  from  Christ,  in  these  places 
where  of  late  they  have  been  receaved,  intrude  into  the  government  of  the 
Church.  Thirdly,  that  the  same  Eldership  ought  not  to  be  placed  in  everie 
parish  or  particular  congregation;  nor  cannot  be  receaved,  for  many  inconven- 
iences and  imperfections  accompanying  the  same.  For  resolution  whereof,  let  us 
consider  first  the  times  of  the  Church  before  Christ:  Secondlie,  the  time 
wherein  Christ  and  his  Apostles  lived:  lastlie,  the  times  of  the  Church  that 
followed  foure  or  five  hundred  yeeres  after,  which  I  call  the  ancient  Christian 
Church,  after  the  Aposdes  times,  (p.  107) 

See  also  Almasy,  "Richard  Hooker's  Book  VI:  A  Reconstruction." 

Calvin  had  set  the  precedent  for  the  disciplinarian  argument  that  the  Jewish 
Sanhedrin  is  the  scriptural  model  for  presbyterial  organization.  According  to  him,  the 
Jews  returning  from  the  Babylonian  Exile  instituted  the  Sanhedrin  by  recalling 
Jehosaphat's  restoration  of  the  Mosaic  system.  See  Institutes,  4.11.1. 


Book  VI 

model  for  the  disciplinarian  consistories.  Against  Cartwright  Hooker 
argues  that  the  High  Court  of  Israel  as  reestablished  by  King  Jehosa- 
phat  was  a  single  and  unique  court  of  mixed  character  that  acted  at 
one  time  as  a  civil  court  and  at  another  as  an  ecclesiastical  one.  He 
denies  that  it  was  ever  a  disparate  whole  made  up  of  two  separate 
courts.  He  admits  that  laity — that  is,  elders  of  the  people  of  Israel — sat 
on  this  mixed  court  at  the  same  time  as  the  priests  and  Levites;  but  he 
rejects  the  disciplinarian  conclusion  on  grounds  that  it  was  not  proper- 
ly an  ecclesiastical  court.  Hooker  thus  finds  the  English  rather  than  the 
Genevan  constitution  justified  by  that  of  ancient  Israel:  the  religious 
nation  and  the  civil  nation  are  identical;  the  prince  and  his  council  are 
the  unified  source  of  all  justice;  the  civil  and  ecclesiastical  courts  that 
administer  that  justice  receive  their  power  of  jurisdiction  from  the 
mixed  personage  of  the  prince.  Here  Hooker  is  defending  a  system  of 
jurisdiction  different  from  those  proposed  by  Erastus,  by  the  Catholics, 
and  by  the  disciplinarians. 

In  the  last  two  sections  of  the  lost  manuscript  (fols.  61—65),  Hooker 
reviews  the  disciplinarian  claim  that  the  institution  of  lay  elders  is 
grounded  in  the  apostolic  and  subapostolic  church.  All  of  the  quota- 
tions from  the  New  Testament  and  the  church  Fathers  identifiable 
from  the  Cranmer-Sandys  Notes  are  discussed  in  the  Cartwright- 
Whitgift  exchange  and  other  polemical  literature  of  the  time. 

Hooker  rejects  the  disciplinarian  interpretation  of  the  word 
"Church"  in  Matthew  18:17,  where  Jesus's  teaching,  "Tel  it  unto  the 
Church,"  was  interpreted  as  his  "transferring"  the  Jewish  polity  of  the 
ancient  people  of  God  to  the  church  (see  p.  263,  n.  25,  and  p.  283, 
above).  He  agrees  with  Whitgift  that  "Church"  in  this  passage  refers 
to  bishops  or  those  to  whom  they  have  delegated  spiritual  jurisdiction, 
whether  priests  or  laymen.  He  also  dismisses  the  disciplinarian  inter- 
pretation of  proof-texts  from  1  Timothy,  Romans  11:8,  and  1  Corin- 
thians 12:28,  all  used  to  argue  that  Paul  and  the  apostles  had  appointed 
lay  elders  in  every  city  to  assist  the  ministers  in  governing  and  in 
administering  the  sacraments.  Hooker  reminded  his  opponents  that  the 
word  "presbyter"  in  the  New  Testament  refers  to  a  "priest"  and  not 
a  "layman,"  and  he  reasserted  Whitgift's  argument  that  the  major 
difference  in  the  ministry  as  found  in  the  New  Testament  is  that 



between  preaching  and  nonpreaching  clergy,  not  that  between  minis- 
ters and  governing  lay  elders. 

Interpretation  of  the  quotations  from  Ignatius,  Tertullian,  Cyprian, 
Ambrose,  and  Jerome  all  turn  on  the  same  two  issues  that  were  at 
stake  in  the  New  Testament  passages:  (1)  that  apostolic  appointments 
involved  only  the  clergy,  and  (2)  that  some  of  those  clergy  were 
preachers  while  others  only  administered  the  sacraments.  Hooker 
argued  that  this  distinction  between  preaching  and  nonpreaching 
clergy  was  grounded  in  the  ability  of  some  ministers  to  preach  and  the 
inability  of  others  who  nonetheless  continued  to  share  in  a  common 
power  of  spiritual  jurisdiction  based  upon  order.  Hooker  is  once  again 
defending  the  ministry  of  the  Church  of  England  not  just  in  its  ideal 
definition  but  in  its  imperfect  present  condition  as  well.  The  ignorant 
nonpreaching  priests  as  well  as  the  more  learned  and  talented  preach- 
ing clergy  all  have  their  warrant  in  Christ's  gift  of  the  power  of  the 
keys,  in  the  apostolic  institution,  and  in  the  example  of  the  early 

Both  Cranmer  and  Sandys  wrote  that  Hooker's  initial  manuscript 
ended  too  abruptly,  and  each  suggested  an  appropriate  conclusion. 
Cranmer's  was  that  Hooker  remark  on  the  political  inconveniences 
were  the  lay  eldership  to  be  imposed  upon  the  English  church  and 
society.  A  passage  such  as  that  found  in  the  Preface  8.2—5  could  well 
have  been  adapted  to  this  end.  A  passage  from  Sutcliffe's  A  Treatise  of 
Ecclesiasticall  Discipline  (1590)  defines  the  direction  Hooker's  comments 
could  have  taken: 

the  Consistoriall  government  overthroweth  her  Majesties  su- 
preme authoritie,  and  prerogative  in  causes  Ecclesiasticall:  First,  in 
denying  her  to  be  above  all  persons  within  her  realme,  and 
making  her  subject  to  their  excommunication  and  lawes:  Second- 
ly, in  taking  away  her  right  of  calling  Synodes,  so  that  none  is 
called  but  by  her  commandement,  and  the  right  to  make  Ecclesi- 
asticall lawes  or  orders.  Thirdly,  in  denying  her  right  to  appoynt 
Ecclesiasticall  commissioners.  Fourthly,  in  denying  her  the  last 
appeale  in  Ecclesiastical  causes.  Fiftly,  in  taking  away  her  right  of 
patronage  paramount,  and  nomination  of  bishoppes.  Sixtly,  in 
taking  away  tenthes,  and  first  fruits,  and  subsidies,  and  custodie  of 
bishops   temporalities.   Lastly,   denying  her  right  to   moderate 


Book  VI 

rigour  of  Ecclesiasticall  lawes:  all  which  they  give  to  their  Consis- 
tories. . . .  Further,  the  Consistorial  government  is  declared  to  be 
predjudiciall  to  her  Majesties  revenues.  Secondly,  to  the  Parlia- 
ment. Thirdly,  to  the  liberties  of  her  subjects.  Fourthly,  to  the 
statutes  and  lawes  of  the  land.  Fiftly,  to  the  Queenes  courtes  of 
justice.  Sixtly,  to  the  Universities.  Seventhly,  to  the  whole  com- 
mons, (p.  177) 

v.  Hooker  and  his  Contemporaries 

There  is  little  that  Hooker  says  in  the  various  drafts  of  Book  VI  and 
the  Autograph  Notes  that  had  not  already  been  said  in  one  place  or 
another  among  the  various  polemical  treatises  exchanged  between 
defenders  of  the  Elizabethan  settlement  and  their  Roman  Catholic  or 
disciplinarian  antagonists.  The  major  difference  between  Hooker  and 
his  contemporaries  is  that  he  took  all  of  these  disparate  arguments  and 
materials,  from  friends  and  foes  alike,  and  arranged  them  within  the 
architectonic  perspective  of  the  Lawes  as  a  whole,  locating  the  particu- 
lar debate  concerning  lay  elders  and  ecclesiastical  courts  within  the 
framework  of  a  fresh  subset  of  first  principles,  spiritual  jurisdiction  and 
its  chief  end,  repentance.  Hooker  was  always  selective  in  his  appropri- 
ation of  arguments  and  materials,  no  matter  what  his  sources.  As  in  the 
earlier  books,  he  rejects  a  line-by-line  refutation  of  works  by  Travers 
and  Cartwright,  refusing  (in  spite  of  objections  by  Cranmer  and 
Sandys)  to  base  his  argument  merely  on  quotations  from  their  works. 
Rather  he  focuses  upon  central  issues  fitted  into  his  own  conceptual 
scheme,  thereby  capturing  the  high  ground  of  the  controversy  and 
resetting  the  agenda  for  the  establishment's  rejection  of  the  disciplinari- 
an office  of  lay  elders  and  the  whole  reformed  order  of  discipline.  The 
same  principle  of  selectivity  can  be  discerned  in  Hooker's  response  to 
the  critique  of  Sandys,  who  called  for  an  expansion  of  the  section  on 
ecclesiastical  courts  and  the  kinds  of  cases  that  traditionally  fall  under 
their  jurisdiction.  Hooker  responded  by  gathering  the  mass  of  legal 
quotations  found  in  the  Autograph  Notes.  But  Sandys  also  requested 
that  Hooker  include  other  aspects  of  the  disciplinarian  platform  besides 
lay  elders,  such  as  their  office  of  doctors  and  their  presbyteries  and 
synods  (3:130.18-24).  As  far  as  we  know,  Hooker  did  not,  and  he 



may  well  have  chosen  not  to  because,  in  the  words  of  Cranmer,  "this 
quaestion  of  Layelders  and  the  next  of  Bishops  are  the  most  essentiall 
pointes  of  all  this  controversy"  (3:126.1—2);  that  is,  an  effective  refuta- 
tion of  lay  elders  (since  they  were  an  essential  part  of  the  local  parish 
"courts"  or  consistories  as  well  as  of  the  synods  and  national  assem- 
blies) would  undermine  the  entire  presbyterian  polity.  As  Sutcliffe  had 

I  dispute  against  no  one  position  or  opinion  of  theirs,  but  against 
a  chiefe  pillar,  and  almost  the  groundworke  of  their  newe  disci- 
pline, I  meane  the  sacred  Aldermen;  which  overthrowne,  the 
high  commendation  of  their  present  discipline  doth  threaten 
present  mine.  (p.  106) 

An  aspect  of  Hooker's  thought  that  strained  his  relation  to  Sandys 
the  politician  and  common  lawyer  comes  to  light  in  their  exchange 
over  distinguishing  between  spiritual,  temporal,  and  mixed  cases  (see 
above,  pp.  295—297).  Hooker  observes:  "An  usuall  thing  it  hath  bene 
alwayes  for  temporall  to  incroch  upon  the  Causes  of  Ecclesiasticall 
Courtes"  (3:484.14—15).  Indeed,  by  the  end  of  the  sixteenth  century 
common  lawyers  were  seeking  to  curtail  the  jurisdiction  of  the  ecclesi- 
astical courts,  thereby  allying  themselves  with  disciplinarians  who 
attacked  the  jurisdiction  of  ecclesiastical  courts  on  very  different 
grounds.  The  underlying  tension  between  Hooker  the  priest  loyally 
defending  the  traditional  prerogatives  of  ecclesiastical  courts  and 
Sandys  the  common  lawyer  surfaces  when  Sandys  says  that  cases 
concerning  testaments  or  the  probate  of  wills  are  "mixt"  whereas 
Hooker  classifies  such  cases  among  those  which  are  the  concern  of 
ecclesiastical  judges  alone  (3:476.23—26).  As  Sandys  had  urged:  "The 
Canon  law  I  know  greately  urgeth  that  all  mixt  causes  be  ecclesiasti- 
call, for  honour  of  that  part:  which  seemes  hard  to  yeald  to,  at  least 


wise  it  would  be  now  hardly  taken  to  require  it"  (3:133.27—30). 

The  differences  between  Hooker  and  Sandys  concerning  the  traditional 
prerogatives  of  ecclesiastical  courts  may  also  underlie  Sandys's  disagreement  with 
Lancelot  Andrewes  over  the  publication  of  the  1648  version  of  Book  VI  and  the 
consequent  foundering  of  the  posthumous  publication  of  the  three  last  books;  see 
Sisson,  pp.  97-106;  also,  pp.  15-16  and  127-156. 


Book  VI 

One  of  the  most  fascinating  of  all  Hooker's  relationships  with  his 
contemporaries  that  reappears  with  regard  to  Book  VI  is  that  with 
John  Rainolds  (see  above,  pp.  53—54).  Cranmer  urges  Hooker  to 
"remember  D.  Raynoldes  note  in  the  former  bookes"  (3:108.32),  who 
may  be  able  to  supply  a  reference  "when  you  send  your  booke" 
(3:112.3).  Hooker  had  evidently  sent  drafts  of  earlier  Books  of  the 
Lawes  to  Rainolds  for  comment,  and  probably  sent  (or  intended  to 
send)  the  initial  manuscript  of  Book  VI  as  well.  That  he  would  do  so 
for  Book  VI  becomes  especially  significant  when  we  remember  that 
Rainolds  in  the  spring  of  1586  was  the  leader  of  a  sermon  campaign 
at  Oxford  that  called  for  a  resident  ministry,  more  preaching,  and  a  lay 
eldership  that  would  assist  the  pastor  in  the  governing  of  the  congrega- 
tion but  would  not  have  the  authority  of  excommunication. 

Another  relationship  of  great  importance  to  Book  VI,  especially  in 
its  1648  form,  was  that  with  Hooker's  former  patron  John  Jewel. 
Although  the  physical  threat  of  the  Roman  Catholics  had  receded  into 
the  background  after  the  defeat  of  the  Spanish  Armada  in  1588,  the 
charges  of  Romanism  against  the  established  church  remained  current, 
as  reflected  in  the  critique  in  A  Christian  Letter  and  in  Hooker's  mar- 
ginalia (4:64.25-68.24,  this  edn.).  In  the  attack  against  the  post- 
Tridentine  Catholic  institution  of  sacramental  confession,  Jewel  and 
Hooker  were  key  figures  in  a  theological  revolution  that  determined 
the  future  of  Anglican  moral  theology.  While  Hooker  did  not  identify 
with  Jewel's  more  reformed  interpretation  of  the  power  of  the  keys  for 
binding  and  loosing  in  terms  of  the  preaching  of  the  Word,  he  did 
endorse  his  position  on  the  declarative  role  of  the  priest  in  absolution 
and  on  the  voluntary  nature  of  private  confession  within  the  Church 
of  England.  Hooker  was  in  some  ways  closer  theologically  to  Lancelot 
Andrewes  than  to  Jewel.  Still,  Andrewes  and  Sandys  disagreed  about 
the  inclusion  of  "the  tract  of  confession"  among  the  "three  last 
books"  (see  p.  252  and  n.  7,  above).  Like  Hooker,  Andrewes  was 
concerned  for  the  more  external  and  canonical  side  of  spiritual  juris- 
diction, as  exemplified  by  his  defense  of  the  practices  of  the  High 
Commission  and  its  use  of  the  oath  ex  officio.  But  the  primary  thrust  of 

See  Dent,  Protestant  Reformers  in  Elizabethan  Oxford,  pp.  2,  133,  140,  148. 



his  theology  is  in  the  direction  of  an  ascetic  moral  theology  with  a 
strong  pastoral  direction. 

Their  theological  kinship  is  evident  in  a  sermon  Andrewes  preached 
on  "The  Power  of  Absolution"  a  few  months  before  Hooker  died.82 
Paralleling  Hooker's  position  in  chapter  6  of  Book  VI,  Andrewes 
interprets  John  20:23,  with  its  companion  texts  in  Matthew  16:19  and 
18:17  (see  above,  p.  263,  n.  25,  and  p.  283),  to  show  that  absolution 
is  a  priestly  function  which  properly  belongs  ority  to  the  power  of 
order,  and  must  not,  therefore,  be  usurped  by  the  laity.  He  does  not 
condemn  private  confession  and  says  that  some  communicants  in  the 
Church  of  England  use  it.  He  and  Hooker  agree  that  absolution  is  an 
exercise  of  the  power  of  the  keys  handed  down  by  Christ  to  the  entire 
church,  but  specifically  to  the  apostles  and  by  them  to  the  clergy  who 
succeeded  them  in  this  office  and  function.  He  stresses  that  remittance 
of  sins  can  follow  only  after  repentance:  Christians  must  not  only  be 
sorry  for  past  sins  and  turn  to  God  (chap.  3.1—5)  but  must  also  do 
works  worthy  of  repentance  (chap.  5.1—8).  Izaak  Walton's  moving 
account  of  Hooker's  last  days  underscores  the  practical  orientation  of 
his  and  Andrewes's  moral  theology: 

About  one  day  before  his  death,  Dr.  Savaria,  who  knew  the 
very  secrets  of  his  soul,  (for  they  were  supposed  to  be  confessors 
to  each  other,)  came  to  him,  and  after  a  conference  of  the  bene- 
fit, the  necessity,  and  safety  of  the  Church's  absolution,  it  was 
resolved  the  doctor  should  give  him  both  that  and  the  Sacrament 
the  day  following.  To  which  end,  the  doctor  came,  and  after  a 
short  retirement  and  privacy,  they  too  returned  to  the  company; 
and  then  the  doctor  gave  him  and  some  of  those  friends  which 
were  with  him,  the  blessed  sacrament  of  the  body  and  blood  of 
our  Jesus.  (Keble,  1:85) 

81  See  P.  A.  Welsby,  Lancelot  Andrewes  (London:  S.P.C.K.,  1958),  p.  33.  For  a 
comprehensive  and  lucid  summary  of  Andrewes's  theology,  see  Nicholas  Lossky, 
Lancelot  Andrewes  the  Preacher  (1555—1625):  The  Origins  of  the  Mystical  Theology  of  the 
Church  of  England  (Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1991). 

82  See  n.  62,  p.  290,  above. 


Book  VII 

Arthur  Stephen  McGrade 

Book  VII  is  the  most  finished  of  the  three  last  books  of  the  Lawes. 
Although  there  are  signs  of  hasty  composition  or  imperfect  editing  in 
the  text  printed  in  1662,  the  style  is  polished  and  the  substance  well 
ordered  and  complete.  Hooker  carries  through  the  plan  of  argument 
laid  out  in  the  table  of  contents:  a  defense  of  the  authority  of  bishops 
in  chapters  3—16  (exposition  in  chapters  4—8,  response  to  objections  in 
chapters  9-16)  followed  in  chapters  17-24  by  a  defense  of  various 
episcopal  "honors"  (especially  honor  by  ample  endowment  with  lands 
and  livings,  chapters  21-24).  A  long  indictment  of  contemporary  bish- 
ops' faults  in  chapter  24.2-15  leads  to  reflections  on  human  limitations 
and  to  a  moving  assessment  of  the  present  condition  of  the  clergy. 
This  whole  final  chapter  nicely  complements  the  historical  survey  of 
episcopacy  in  England  and  Hooker's  posing  of  "the  Question"  con- 
cerning bishops  at  the  beginning  of  the  book:  whether  "the  Church  of 
Christ  is  at  this  day  lawfully,  and  so  hath  been  sithence  the  first  beginning, 
governed  by  Bishops,  having  permanent  superiority,  and  ruling  power  over 
other  Ministers  of  the  Word  and  Sacraments"  (3.1;  3:154.34-155.2). 

If  Book  V  has  been  acknowledged  as  the  classic  exposition  of  the 
religion  of  the  English  Book  of  Common  Prayer,  why,  if  Hooker 
completed  it  as  he  intended,  has  Book  VII  not  been  accorded  similar 
status  with  regard  to  characteristically  Anglican  polity?  The  answer 
may  have  less  to  do  with  the  book's  merits  than  with  the  effects  of  its 

Where  our  text  seems  flawed,  it  is  usually  impossible  to  distinguish  between 
misconception  or  inadvertence  on  Hooker's  part  and  faults  in  the  process  of  trans- 
mission from  his  hand  to  Gauden's  edition  of  1662.  For  imperfections  of  one  kind  or 
another,  see  nn  to  3:148.16-21,  180.1-6.Z,  182.18-28/,  183.3-12.^,  183.27-184.2.^, 
186.6.W,  186.21-22,  193.9,  193.23-28,  193.30-194.2.^,  198.26-199.2.t>,  199.u>,  229/, 
257.21-22.0,  267.8-12.y,  275.10.5,  278.8.C,  287.3.n,  297.33-298.1,  306.25-26,  and 



delayed  publication.  It  is  as  if  Hooker's  contribution  to  his  church 
had  already  been  reckoned  and  fixed  in  the  first  half  of  the  seven- 
teenth century,  when  no  fewer  than  six  editions  of  Books  I-V  were 
printed.  By  the  time  Bishop  Gauden  brought  Book  VII  to  public  view 
at  the  Restoration,  the  outcome  of  the  Elizabethan  debate  over  epis- 
copacy was  also  fixed  in  the  church's  consciousness. 

From  being  accepted  early  in  Elizabeth's  reign  as  the  form  of 
ecclesiastical  governance  authorized  by  the  current  Christian  ruler, 
episcopacy  was  more  vigorously  championed  in  the  1570s  and  '80s, 
not  only  on  the  basis  of  the  national  church's  authority  (still  thought 
of  as  residing  in  the  Christian  magistrate),  but  also  on  the  basis  of 
sound  tradition  going  back  to  the  time  of  the  apostles.  Then,  begin- 
ning with  Hadrian  Saravia's  De  ministrorum  evangelii  gradibus  of  1590, 
the  principle  of  degree  in  spiritual  power  was  held  to  have  been 
instituted  by  Christ  himself  and  to  be  permanently  normative.  This 
divine-right  conception  of  episcopal  authority  was  never  given  official 
status,  but  it  gained  dominance  in  the  early  Stuart  church. 

Although  assertions  of  jure  divino  prerogatives  by  both  king  and 
bishops  had  helped  provoke  Puritans  and  others  into  civil  war,  the 
resumption  of  a  high  episcopalian  position  must  have  seemed  a  natural 
part  of  reestablishing  the  traditional  church  in  1660.  Here  Hooker's 
account  of  episcopal  authority  and  honors  could  hardly  be  expected  to 
have  much  influence.  Hooker's  defense  of  bishops  redounded  to  his 
credit  with  the  restored  hierarchy.  But,  as  we  shall  see,  his  defense 
could  not  be  fitted  neatly  into  the  sequence  of  other  defenses,  and 
since  those  other  defenses  had  claimed  a  stronger  foundation  for 
episcopal  authority,  they  must  have  seemed  stronger  defenses.  The 
establishment  therefore  enrolled  Hooker  among  its  supporters  as  best 
it  could  and  ignored  (or  dismissed  as  due  to  Puritan  vandalism  of  his 
manuscripts)  those  aspects  of  Book  VII  which  fell  short  of  its  own 
preferred  position.    On  the  other  side,  when  presbyterian  and  congre- 

On  the  publication  of  Book  VII,  see  3:xliv-li,  and  Introduction  to  The  Preface, 
pp.  41—43,  and  51,  above. 

On  the  campaign  to  defend  episcopacy  mounted  1587-1593,  the  years  in  which 
the  Lawes  was  being  written,  see  Introduction  to  The  Preface,  pp.  25—26,  above. 

4  See  David  Novarr,  The  Making  of  Walton's  "Lives"  (1958),  pp.  215-217,  222- 
223,  and  242-245. 


Book  VII 

gationalist  opponents  of  episcopacy  (and  Roman  Catholic  opponents 
of  the  Reformation  settlement)  eventually  secured  toleration  for  their 
own  worship,  they  had  as  little  need  as  hope  of  modifying  the  under- 
standing of  authority  in  the  national  church  by  appeal  to  the  widely 
admired  Hooker. 

For  all  concerned,  there  was  the  additional  difficulty  of  getting  clear 
exactly  what  Hooker  had  meant  to  say  about  ecclesiastical  jurisdiction. 
This  was  due  partly  to  the  subtlety  of  his  argument  in  Book  VII  itself 
and  partly  to  the  fact  that  certain  principles  affecting  his  defense  of 
bishops'  authority  and  honor  are  fully  stated  only  in  earlier  books  of 
the  Lawes  and  there  only  in  connection  with  other  problems.  Simple 
delay  in  publishing  Book  VII  need  not  have  neutralized  it.  But  delay 
compounded  by  such  drastic  changes  of  historical  situation,  suspicions 
of  inauthenticity  (augmented  by  the  unsatisfactory  condition  of  the 
other  two  posthumous  books),  and  the  complexity  of  Hooker's 
argument  deprived  his  treatment  of  episcopacy,  the  most  potently 
divisive  issue  of  his  own  day,  of  nearly  all  effect. 

If  the  English  church  had  gone  on  to  find  an  adequate  solution  to 
the  problem  of  authority  addressed  in  Book  VII — a  conception  of 
spiritual  leadership  coherent  with  Scripture,  tradition,  and  the  best 
impulses  of  all  parts  of  a  complex  Christian  society — then  the  attempt 
to  understand  what  is  distinctive  in  Hooker's  account  of  episcopacy 
would  be  of  purely  historical  interest.  As  things  stand,  however,  the 
problem  has  not  been  solved,  or  at  least  Hooker  would  not  think  so. 
The  Church  of  England  was  arguably  episcopal  in  fact  more  than  in 
essence  when  Hooker  wrote,  and  when  episcopal  governance  later 
became  one  of  its  characteristic  marks,  it  was  no  longer  the  church  of 
all  English  Christians.  In  this  sense,  the  problem  presented  to  Hooker 
and  his  contemporaries  has  not  been  solved  by  the  successors  of  any 
side  in  the  original  debate.  This  suggests  that,  in  circumstances  favor- 
able to  ecumenical  discussion  of  church  authority,  fresh  study  of  Book 
VII  might  yet  be  fruitful  for  Hooker's  intended  posterity.  Such  study 
must  begin  with  a  closer  look  at  the  book's  occasion. 

i.  The  Status  Of  Bishops  in  the  Elizabethan  Church 

When  Hooker  began  work  on  the  Lawes  in  the  late  1580s,  episco- 
pacy in  England  had  endured  a  long  period  of  economic  and  social 



decline,  practical  weakness,  and  theological  attack.  The  depressed 
condition  of  bishops  through  most  of  Elizabeth  I's  reign  must  not  be 
exaggerated.  As  central  figures  in  a  complex  traditional  system  of 
pastoral,  administrative,  and  legal  responsibilities,  they  functioned  very 
much  as  their  predecessors  had  done.  Certainly  their  enemies  regarded 
them  as  essentially  similar  to  the  prelates  of  the  pre-Reformation 
church.  But  late  medieval  English  bishops  were  very  rich — peers  of 
the  realm  in  wealth  as  well  as  social  and  political  status.  Accordingly, 
episcopal  lands,  manors,  and  other  endowments  were  second  only  to 
monastic  holdings  as  prey  in  the  lay  expropriation  begun  under  Henry 
VIII.  The  attack  on  episcopal  wealth  reached  its  fiscal  height  (and 
moral  depth)  in  the  following  reign  of  Edward  VI  (1547—53),  but  a 
reversal  of  course  was  not  clearly  evident  until  the  end  of  the  century. 
Some  lands  briefly  restored  to  bishops  under  Mary  (1553—58)  were 
re-expropriated  after  Elizabeth's  accession;  the  crown  again  replaced 
the  pope  as  recipient  of  the  first  year's  income  of  a  newly  installed 
bishop  and  all  the  income  of  a  vacant  see;  it  acquired  the  right  to 
dictate  exchanges  of  certain  forms  of  its  own  income  for  episcopal 
income;  and  it  could  enjoy  or  pass  on  to  its  clients  the  sometimes 
significant  advantage  of  being  the  only  party  allowed  to  take  long 
leases  on  episcopal  lands.  Aside  from  some  inroads  on  the  two  or  three 
richest  sees,  there  may  well  have  been  little  loss  of  episcopal  wealth  to 
a  plundering  laity  under  Elizabeth.  Yet  fear  of  further  depredations, 
given  the  opportunities  and  pressures  the  system  afforded,  was  not 
unreasonable,  and  the  effects  of  inflation  combined  with  the  new 
domestic  expenses  of  this  first  generation  of  married  bishops  justified 
a  sense  of  considerable  loss.  From  equality  with  the  peerage  on  the 
eve  of  the  Reformation,  bishops  were  reduced  by  1600  to  the  level  of 
the  gentry.    The  secular  trend  had  eased  significantly  by  the  time 

The  price  of  a  composite  unit  of  consumables  in  southern  England  rose  on  the 
order  of  500%  between  1500  and  1600.  The  extent  and  persistence  of  the  Tudor 
inflation  are  cited  by  E.  H.  Phelps  Brown  and  Sheila  V.  Hopkins  as  the  most  marked 
feature  of  their  summary  graph  of  prices  for  the  seven  centuries  1264—1962  in  "Seven 
Centuries  of  the  Prices  of  Consumables  compared  with  Builders'  Wage-Rates," 
Economica,  n.s.,  23  (1956):  299,  305. 

6  Felicity  Heal,  Of  Prelates  and  Princes:  A  Study  of  the  Economic  and  Social  Position  of 
the  Tudor  Episcopate  (Cambridge:  The  University  Press,  1980),  pp.  72,  244. 


Book  VII 

Hooker  wrote  and  was  to  be  reversed  for  a  while  under  James  I,  but 
both  the  sense  of  grand  episcopal  entitlement  and  the  cries  of  clerical 
poverty  at  the  end  of  Book  VII  are,  in  context,  readily  understandable. 
The  bishops'  social  standing  was  affected  by  the  kind  as  well  as  the 
extent  of  their  economic  misfortunes.  The  great  loss  of  episcopal 
manors  in  the  sixteenth  century  was  also  a  loss  of  local  standing.  The 
loss  of  London  town  houses  (while  lay  magnates  were  building  apace) 
contributed  to  a  diminished  influence  at  court  and  in  the  councils  of 
state.  Hooker's  patron,  Archbishop  Whitgift,  was  the  only  prelate  to 
serve  as  a  privy  councillor  under  Elizabeth,  and  he  restored  "to  the 
primacy  something  of  the  feudal  magnificence  which  had  characterized 
it  in  earlier  days"  (DNB) — thanks  to  the  private  fortune  his  merchant 
father  had  left  him.  But  at  a  time  when  they  found  it  hard  to  perform 
the  traditional  offices  of  charity,  hospitality,  and  patronage  traditionally 
expected  of  them,  bishops  were  despised  in  some  quarters  precisely  for 
the  grandness  of  station  which  such  duties  presupposed.  They  could  be 
sincerely  disliked  by  the  zealous  both  as  obstacles  to  further  church 
reform  and  as  lingering  symbols  of  unreformed  "lordship"  and  world- 
liness.  They  were  insincerely  denounced  on  the  same  grounds  by  those 
who  only  coveted  their  remaining  wealth.  To  be  sure,  Bishop  Sandys 
doubtless  exaggerated  the  world's  hostility  when  he  wrote  to  Lord 
Burghley,  "We  are  the  scum  of  the  earth."  Ambition  for  the  title  of 
a  bishop  persisted,  even  when  other  rewards  of  the  office  seemed 
scant.  Some  reform-minded  bishops  at  the  beginning  of  Elizabeth's 
reign  found  a  humbler  status  acceptable,  or  even  desirable,  since 
disentanglement  from  the  responsibilities  of  high  worldly  standing 
might  give  time  for  spiritual  occupations.  Further,  by  the  1590s  the 
episcopate  had  a  secure  role  as  an  official  organ  of  authority  in  the 
royally  established  church.  Under  James  I  the  prestige  of  bishops  was 
to  increase  at  court,  and  some  found  ways  to  combine  their  high  status 
with  energetic  pastoral  and  administrative  activity  in  the  service  of  a 
markedly  Calvinist  Christianity.  Despite  these  qualifications,  it  must 
still  be  said  that,  in  the  half-century  before  Hooker  wrote,  the  less 

"Excrementum  mundi."  Edwin  Sandys,  father  of  Hooker's  associate,  writing  in 
1573  as  bishop  of  London,  as  quoted  in  Patrick  Collinson,  The  Religion  of  Protestants: 
The  Church  in  English  Society  1559-1625  (Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1982),  p.  41. 

Collinson,  The  Religion  of  Protestants,  pp.  45-91. 



material  honors  traditionally  accorded  bishops  had  been  called  into 
question  along  with  their  wealth.  This  was  in  part  because  the  episco- 
pal ideal  in  post-Reformation  England  needed  redefinition.  It  was  also 
unclear  what  a  bishop  could  in  fact  do. 

The  exercise  of  episcopal  authority  was  hindered  by  the  diminished 
respect  and  material  means  bishops  could  command,  but  there  were 
also  more  direct  obstacles.  In  the  first  place,  there  were  tensions  and 
uncertainties  due  to  the  strengthening  of  royal  control  over  the 
church.  At  her  accession  Elizabeth  tried  to  persuade  several  bishops 
who  had  held  sees  during  the  return  to  the  Roman  obedience  to 
continue  in  office  under  the  new  religious  settlement.  Almost  to  a 
man,  they  accepted  deprivation  rather  than  serve  a  church  in  which  all 
ecclesiastical  jurisdiction  was  annexed  to  the  crown.  As  a  result,  most 
early  Elizabethan  bishops  lacked  both  administrative  experience  and  a 
strong  sense  of  the  authority  of  their  office.  In  addition,  many  favored 
more  reform  of  ceremonies  and  discipline  than  the  queen  had  any 
intention  of  allowing.  The  conflict  between  personal  conviction  and 
duty  to  enforce  royal  policy  became  excruciating  in  the  case  of 
Edmund  Grindal,  whom  Elizabeth  suspended  as  archbishop  of  Canter- 
bury for  refusing  to  suppress  gatherings  known  as  prophesyings  (meet- 
ings called  for  prayer  and  discussion  of  Scripture  beyond  the  appointed 
services  of  the  church),  which  the  queen  found  subversive  of  good 

It  is  harder  to  trace  a  distinction  between  royal  and  episcopal  will 
after  Grindal's  suspension,  but  there  was  a  sharp  distinction  between 
crown  and  miter  as  objects  of  reformist  attack.   The  most  radical 

Haugaard,  Elizabeth  and  the  English  Reformation,  pp.  162-166. 

Grindal  modelled  his  firm  but  respectful  resistance  to  the  queen  on  the  example 
of  Ambrose's  refusal  to  cooperate  with  fourth-century  imperial  orders  favoring  the 
Arians;  see  Patrick  Collinson,  "If  Constantine,  then  also  Theodosius:  St.  Ambrose  and 
the  Integrity  of  the  Elizabethan  Ecclesia  Anglicana,"  Journal  of  Ecclesiastical  History,  30 
(1979):  205-229;  rpr.  Collinson,  Godly  People  (London:  The  Hambledon  Press,  1983), 
pp.  109-133,  and  Archbishop  Grindal,  1519-1583:  The  Struggle  for  a  Reformed  Church 
(Berkeley  and  Los  Angeles:  University  of  California  Press,  1979),  pp.  233-252.  The 
same  precedent  (with  Grindal  also  undoubtedly  in  mind)  was  urged  by  Hooker's 
opponents  to  support  the  crown's  subjection  to  ordinary  processes  of  ecclesiastical 
censure,  the  last  issue  to  be  dealt  with  in  the  Lawes  (VIII. 9). 


Book  VII 

Puritan  polemics — the  Marprelate  Tracts  and  the  writings  of  John  Udall 
and  the  separatists,  Penry,  Barrow,  and  Greenwood — were  uniformly 
deferential  to  the  queen  but  pilloried  the  bishops  for  actions  she 
undoubtedly  approved.  The  situation  must  have  been  clear  to  most  of 
those  involved,  yet  there  were  genuinely  complicating  factors.  Eliza- 
beth's vivid  sense  of  her  own  authority  as  supreme  governor  did  not 
lead  her  to  constant  visible  displays  of  authority  in  the  church  as  it  did 
elsewhere.  She  allowed  ordinary  ecclesiastical  governance  to  remain  in 
the  hands  of  her  bishops.  Accordingly,  she  sometimes  declined  to  give 
special  royal  assent  to  episcopal  regulations  that  she  was  willing  to  see 
enforced,  preferring  to  have  the  bishops  manage  on  their  own  authority. 
But  what  was  their  own  authority?  Be